To complement the international uprising of Harry Potter fandom is the incomparable genre of “Wizard Rock”- the underground music movement birthed by Potter fans. The July 17th release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment of J.K. Rowling’s literary brainchild, has sparked interest in wannabe wizards and robed rock stars that obviously like to read.
Although…this is not completely true. Despite its seemingly embarrassing geeky nature, I figured that there must be more to Wizard Rock than dressing up like Hogwarts students and having musicians pretending to be Harrys, Rons, and Hermiones sign your J.K. Rowling books. After delving into this fantasy niche that has spawned from the books and films, I discovered three fascinating things:
1. Wizard Rock is also called “Wrock”. Do NOT try correcting a Wrock fan with alternate spellings. You. Will. Lose.
2. There was a Wizard Rock Festival in Brooklyn back in September 2008—sixteen bands filling up eight hours of music. Coachella, eat your heart out.
3. And for the daft, you can visit Wizrocklopedia.com. There, you will find all you need to know about the bands involved and how this literary subculture has reached worldwide recognition.
The first human (or for those familiar with the series, muggle) band that started this movement was the appropriately named, Harry and the Potters. Brothers, Paul and Joe DeGeorge started Harry and the Potters as a backyard duo before touring nationwide, promoting literacy to anyone that would listen. I witnessed one of their first west coast shows at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena, CA, before their insane fame. The music and lyrics were bad, but I found myself laughing with the crowd at the Harry Potter references in each song. I will even admit to dancing a little bit. The DeGeorges even shared fan-made cupcakes with my friends and me after the show. Paul, the older brother, proceeded to hit on us.
There are more bands like them: Draco and the Malfoys, The Cedric Diggorys, The Remus Lupins, The Whomping Willows, The Butterbeer Experience, DJ Luna Lovegood…The list goes on. In fact, I was so inspired by this phenomenon, that a friend and I decided to start our own wizard band, Cho and the Changs. Our page is still up on MySpace. We never recorded any music, but somehow acquired 200 friends. Maybe we’ll pick up the project again.
So in my discovery of this genre and my inner wizard, Wizard Rock is oddly enough, not about the music and fancy wands. It is about literacy. Finding those who read for their own leisure is so few and far between in this technologically advanced era that it is almost a necessity to have silly subcultures like these. Thank you, J.K. Rowling for the inspiration. Let us never forget how to turn pages.