Harry and the Potters were born out of an impromptu backyard concert for family and friends in Massachusetts. Now, six years and 450 shows later, brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge continue to take the stage as Harry Year 7 and Harry Year 4, respectively, making readers’ favorite wizard a little more punk.
Though Joe, 20, studies physics as a rising junior at Clark University and plays in another band, 29-year-old Paul insists, “I’m still heavily involved as a wizard.” And he can prove it, too. The older brother is also the co-founder of a non-profit activist organization (the Harry Potter Alliance) and founder of a charitable CD subscription club (the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club), which donated $13,000 to First Book (a charity that provides disadvantaged children with new books) in its debut year. But how long can wizard rock survive without more installments of J.K. Rowling’s celebrated book series?
The Portland Phoenix chatted with Paul about the seventh book, the upcoming election, and what to expect when Harry and the Potters hit Portland's SPACE Gallery on June 26.
How did you react to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the final book of the series?
I thought it was great! I was so pumped to read it. We were in the middle of an 11-week tour last summer and we took three days off and just totally shut down (no cell phones, no Internet, no TV) until we were done with the book. It’s hard to even comprehend the pressure that must have been on J.K. Rowling when she was writing that book. I thought she did a great job and I was really just thrilled to have lived through and enjoyed the Harry Potter phenomenon as it unfolded.
On your blog, there is a post from April Fool’s Day, sharing with fans a goodbye message. You joked that with the release of the seventh and final book, H&TPwould be splitting up, moving in separate directions. Does this prank have any truth to it? How much longer can harry and the potters function without more of its muse?
It is true that with the seventh book being published, we’ve definitely slowed down. To us, at this point, we’re not trying to push real hard. We’re just doing shows and events and stuff that we’re interested in. The three yars before the seventh book came out, we were playing 120 shows per year, and now we’re doing about a third of that.
Do you expect all Potter-themed music to fade in popularity, or do some groups have more lasting power than others?
A lot of the bands are in different positions than us. Joe and I have been a band now for six years, but these bands are coming at it with a totally fresh and new approach. If they’re starting a band now, it means they have something they’re really excited about it. I’m not saying we’re not excited, but we have a very different perspective on it. I still think wizard rock is going to expand and grow. When you’re a kid and you’re first starting a band, you’re going to write songs about stuff you know about, stuff you’re invested in. I think that’s what so many Harry Potter bands are doing now. There’s a whole generation of kids who have been reading these stories, know them inside and out, and they’re going to transfer that into their art. That goes beyond music as well. You can look at all aspects of the Harry Potter phenomenon, people making fan fiction and fan art, getting really creative with it.