Potters Find Success As 'Half-Blood' Nears
Paul DeGeorge would never describe himself as an obsessed Harry Potter fan.Paul DeGeorge would never describe himself as an obsessed Harry Potter fan. Nonetheless, you can often find the 25-year-old Cambridge, Mass., native rocking out in Harry-inspired duds to tunes about the fictitious wizard. That's because the guitarist/singer, who works as a scientist for a vaccine manufacturer, moonlights as a Potter-styled rocker in the band Harry and the Potters.
And with the release of the sixth book in J.K. Rowling's bestselling series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," due July 16, the band -- whose cheeky songs include "The Missing Arm of Viktor Krum," "My Teacher Is a Werewolf" and "The Foil (Malfoy)" -- is finding itself rather busy.
Rounded out by Paul's 17-year-old brother/keyboardist/singer Joe, the group has performed around the country and earlier this spring toured England. For at least 15 U.S. shows lined up a this summer -- including an appearance at the Randhurst Mall in Mount Prospect, Ill., where a crowd of some 30,000 is expected to gather in anticipation of the midnight release of the new book -- they'll be decked out in "Harry Potter meets punk rock" uniforms (tie, sweater and ripped jeans) according to Paul, who appears as Harry Year 7, while Joe is a younger version, Harry Year 5.
Together for two years, Harry and the Potters have released two albums -- one self-titled and "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock!" -- on the Eskimo Laboratories label, co-founded by Paul.
Although they enjoy the Potter books, the DeGeorge brothers (who also have another band, Ed In The Refridgerators) don't consider themselves dedicated fans. "We're not obsessive," Paul says. "We read the books once and this idea struck us, so we read the books again to write our songs."
Pulling from the Harry Potter universe in both obvious and subtle ways, the band's goal is to find an inviting way to get kids to listen to more offbeat music. Paul, who cites indie stalwarts like Pavement and They Might Be Giants as influences, says Harry and the Potters isn't about rehashing plotlines or references from the books.
"We're interested in bringing our own personality to this," Paul says. "The allure of [forming a Harry Potter band] is that it's a good opportunity to reach young people and impart our sensibilities onto them. Our music is nothing like what a kid will hear on the radio or on MTV."
So what do Harry's corporate parents think of the DeGeorges' quirky band? Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of the Potter books, did not return calls by deadline. Warner Brothers Entertainment, which releases the Harry Potter movies, said in a statement, "We value our intellectual property rights and protect them. That said, it is our policy to not discuss specific issues of this nature in the public domain."
As for future recordings, Paul says he and his brother are working on a third album, which will feature mostly dance music. The boys are envisioning it as the soundtrack to a crazy night in the Gryffindor common room.
Here are Harry & the Potters' tour dates:
June 14: Hershey, Pa. (Hershey Public Library)
June 18: Cambridge, Mass. (Cambridge River Fest)
June 22: Harvard, Mass. (Harvard Public Library)
June 22: Dorchester, Mass. (Adams Street Branch Library)
June 23: Boston (Boston Public Library)
June 24: Burlington, Mass. (Burlington Public Library)
June 25: Jamaica Plain, Mass. (The Milky Way)
July 7: New York (New York Public Library-Teen Central)
July 8: Staten Island, N.Y. (New York Public Library-Richmondtown Branch)
July 16: Mount Prospect, Ill. (Randhurst Mall)
July 31: San Francisco (San Francisco Public Library)
Aug. 5: Boulder, Col. (Boulder Public Library)
Aug. 9: St. Louis, Mo. (Saint Louis Public Library)
Aug. 13: Shirley, N.Y. (Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library)
Aug. 14: Norwood, Mass. (Norwood Theater)