Harry and the Potters cast a wrockin’ spell

By Colby Bleicher

McClatchy Newspapers

Harry and the Potters, a two-man band from Norwood, Mass., is an innovation in the genre of rock music. Brothers Joe and Paul DeGeorge are the first to popularize what is known as wizard rock, which has been affectionately shortened to "wizrock," "WR" or simply "wrock."

The concept of Harry and the Potters was explained at the beginning of a recent Anchorage, Alaska, concert and requires a bit of Harry Potter familiarity. Here’s the gist:

One day, Harry Potter used a Time-Turner in his seventh year of Hogwarts to visit his younger self in his fourth year. After an awkward introduction, the Harrys agreed that the best way to fight against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was to start a rock band. This made sense in the context of the story — sort of.


Conveniently, their headmaster, Dumbledore, presented the Harrys with musical instruments left behind by their parents. Apparently, J.K. Rowling forgot to mention in her acclaimed novels that James Potter was actually a master at the electric guitar and Lily Potter played a mean keyboard/synthesizer.

With their inherited instruments and musical talents, the Harrys joined up with Bill Weasley on the drums and began to play shows in Hogwarts’ underground rock scene.

As for the real history of Harry and the Potters, the group began almost accidentally.

At the time of the band’s formation, Paul, 28, was working as a chemical engineer and, on the side, was part of an indie band called The Secrets. Joe, 20, was in high school and was the frontman for the band Ed in the Refrigerators.

In June 2002, Joe scheduled a concert of several local indie bands. And when none of them showed up, Paul and Joe were forced to make up new material and play together.

In the next hour, the two brothers wrote seven songs, all from the point of view of Harry Potter. Only six people stuck around to watch their performance, but the band became a hit. Six of those seven songs made it onto their self-titled album that came out in 2003. The band has released two more studio albums since.

Their success has launched a huge movement of wizard rock bands. Today, there are more than 100 wizard rock bands, many of them borrowing from Harry Potter characters. Bands include The Moaning Myrtles, The Butterbeer Experience, Fred Lives and The Gryffindor Common Room Rejects.

When Harry and the Potters hit Anchorage in March, the Wilda Marston Theatre was filled with excited fans of all ages. From the first song, the audience was on its feet at the edge of the stage, dancing, cheering and clapping along.


The songs were easy to get into because most of the band’s music is simple — the lyrics are often repetitive, the songs are all fairly short and the music itself is rather basic and unpolished.

This was one of the most fun shows I’ve attended. The band made it a point to frequently involve the audience.

In the song "SPEW," for example, one of the Harrys raced around the theater asking audience members to screech the title into the mike in the most gruesome voice possible.

After the show, the audience was abuzz. Almost everyone got in line to buy a T-shirt, which the Harrys were happy to sign with a funny note.

The band members were all very good-natured and happy to stop to talk or pose for a picture.

Overall, I was impressed with the show. By the end of the concert, the Harrys were so excited, they were running around swinging flags above the heads of the audience members.

For a group with a fan base that could be considered "nerdy," Harry and the Potters caused quite an uproar.

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Colby Bleicher is a junior at West High School in Anchorage, Alaska.

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