It takes a very special book series to spawn a musical subgenre. But the fact that the Argus is publishing an Arts Section devoted entirely to the best-selling series in the first place clearly shows that Harry Potter is indeed a very special book series.
Since the early 2000s, following the release of the first Harry Potter movie, bands across the world have channeled their love for the often offbeat and eccentric wizarding world into a new genre of rock music called (what else) Wizard Rock. According to the extremely informative, and typo-laden website wizardrock.org, this phenomenon is also known as “Wrock.” Try slipping that one into daily conversation and see if anyone notices the difference.
I spent a long time (that I probably should have spent doing homework) poring over the list of the bands that wizardrock.org follows. The band names range from the classics (The Whomping Willows) to the obscure (Kingsley and the Shacklebolts). Although I am a self-professed Harry Potter fanatic, even I didn’t know what a few of the band names were referencing; 10 points to Gryffindor if someone can tell me what “Anapneo” is meant to be. Some of my favorites, in no particular order:
– By Hagrid’s Beard!
– The Band Who Lived
– Dobby’s Sock
– The Gargling Nargles
– Hermione and the Know-It-Alls
– Horcrux for Cutie
– Luna Wants a Long Bottom
-The Orgasmic Parseltongue Horcrux Experience
– Siriusly Riddikulus
These bands may base their musical fame and income off of a children’s book, but they take their work seriously. Wrock fans have organized an annual WrockStock for the past four years. The most recent iteration of this event, WrockStock 2010: A Space Oddity, was held two weeks ago in a YMCA in Missouri–clearly the hottest venue available to people who most likely still live with their mothers.
“At WrockStock, we try to show everyone who attends the value of friendship and the need to do what’s right, as shown by Harry and his friends throughout the series. Just about everyone who has attended WrockStock has said they felt that their hearts and minds had been refreshed, they were ready to do good and spread the love whenever the opportunity arose,” says the event’s website. Basically, it’s Woodstock but with magic instead of drugs.
Although the Wizard Rock genre is now a worldwide phenomenon, its widespread popularity can be attributed to one band that started it all (much like Harry himself): the illustrious Harry and the Potters. The band is composed of brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge, who started showcasing their love for J. K. Rowling’s bespectacled hero in 2002.
The brothers DeGeorge are the crème de la crème of Wizard Rock. There’s even a question concerning Harry and the Potters in the Swedish version of Trivial Pursuit. And luckily for us Potter fans of Wesleyan, this dynamic duo of literary musical genius will be gracing us with their presence on December 3rd, thanks to the Adelphic Educational Fund.
“I asked the membership for ideas of people to bring to campus and Cardner Clark ’13 mentioned Harry and the Potters, so I just sent them an email a few months ago and they were quite eager to come back to play at ADP (they did this about six years ago as well) because they’re doing a tour of New England,” says Cheryl Tan ’11, chair of the Alpha Delta Phi Music Series Committee. “I myself haven’t listened to their music a whole lot but from what I’ve heard they’re quite funny, and Paul DeGeorge is pretty down-to-earth to work with. Fun fact: their rider includes a request for 12 bottles of water.”
Yes, Harry and the Potters are quite funny. Hilarious, in fact. But they also imbue their Potter-themed songs with a genuine love for the series. Most of their songs are sung from Harry’s perspective, musically conveying Harry’s ongoing conflict between heroics and teenage angst. Each song takes on a different aspect of Harry’s trials and tribulations in the wizarding world in accurate and hilarious detail, melding our modern world of rock music with Harry’s magical existence at Hogwarts.
Their most popular song is “Save Ginny Weasley,” which features lyrics such as “We’ve got to save Ginny Weasley from the basilisk /We’ve got to save the school again,” and “You can’t take my best friend’s sister /And get away with it.” My personal favorite, perhaps due to my personal fascination with Slytherin, is “The Foil (Malfoy)”: “Your blood may be pure / But your heart is so spoiled /You wouldn’t be so tough/ Without Crabbe and Goyle.” There’s a song to satisfy every Potter fanatic, all set to a danceable beat.
“We swung the educational aspect of this [concert] by getting the rights to screen one of the documentaries that they’re in, so we’ll be doing that and holding a Q&A with the band,” says Tan. I’ll be first in line at ADP, wand in tow.