With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
and the final gargantuan nail in the coffin of things to look forward to in one of the most beloved franchises in recent memory, The NY Times
recently did a throwaway piece on "wrock" or "wizard rock" for the athletic and popular who never delved deep enough into nerdy subculture to realize there are approximately 800 bands singing songs about the fictional world of Harry Potter (see: yikes). "Perhaps the most well known" according to the Times
is coincidentally my only IRL experience with this subculture and I wanted to ruminate on the value of its seemingly stupid regurgitation of sub-plots and themes about being a kid, oh and also a wizard.
Harry and the Potters
was founded by brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge in Norwood, Mass in 2002. Their first record was terrible. Abysmal in production value, recorded in their parents living room with their friend "Ernie" playing drums, laughably out of time and tune, the list goes on and on. But the underlying charm was in the identifiable content, mixed with a bit of self-aware humor—the punks knew they sucked, but their songs came from a place of genuine fandom. And living in a time when fans of the novels didn't really know what was going to happen next, we were all constantly craving some sort of secondary outlet for that catharsis. And when the movies proved to be fluffy Disney-fied versions of our beloved boy-who-lived (at least the first two), certainly the books would sprout other, albeit unsanctioned extensions.
I saw Harry and the Potters play their punk-Potter show in a living room in Brooklyn in 2006. Sporting the signature Harry crimson and gold tie under sweatervests, they blasted through as many of their two-minute constructions as I had been able to consume via inter-dorm file sharing at the time. Their second, and I'd argue best, record had come out. It was called Voldemort Can't Stop The Rock
, and I could probably write a paper on why it is the perfect synthesis of kids who like playing with instruments, and like Harry Potter, and were frustrated about not knowing whether Harry would ever hook up with Ginny Weasley, and also felt so connected to the characters in the books that they cried and laughed and everything in between at every turn.
Most readers of the book despise the curmudgeonly buffoon Cornelius Fudge, who refuses to believe Voldemort has returned despite Dumbledore's insistence (circa book five). Bare with me. Listen to this.
Now, for a kid who loved these tomes as much as any friend to date, sympathizing with this cry was immediate. A few other incredible gets from this near-perfect encapsulation of our wait for book six, check 'em out.
The anthem "These Days Are Dark":
And the classic.
Although these aren't exactly Polaris Prize material, Harry and The Potters have inadvertently spawned an incredible amount of followers. Draco and The Malfoys was one I remember from the old days. I won't go much farther, the rabbit hole is deep. But when the doldrums of that last scene set in, remember there's an entire world of Potterheads out there continuing the dream of being more than a muggle. "The End" can't stop the rock either, apparently. A good song enhances the experience, even when no one is asking it to.