Paul DeGeorge is the kind of guy who can truly make people remember why they loved something in the first place – especially if that thing is Harry Potter. As half of what is possibly the first “wizard band,” Harry and the Potters, DeGeorge, who plays with his brother Joe, has been doing just that with fans of music and reading for almost a decade. He has the ability to make someone he’s meeting for the first time seem like an old friend, which is arguably as great a talent as playing the music he loves in front of hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people.
Harry and the Potters are set to play in Philadelphia on Dec. 12 for the annual Yule Ball extravaganza, which returns to the area for the first time in almost five years. DeGeorge talked to The Temple News about great wizard band names, the new Harry Potter movie and a gift he left in J.K. Rowling’s office.
The Temple News: Could you describe “wizard rock” to someone who might have a familiarity with the books, but not with the still-burgeoning music scene surrounding it?
Paul DeGeorge: Sure thing. The thing with wizard bands is really simple. People inhabit characters from the book series, write songs from the points of views of different characters and connect over their love of Harry Potter.
TTN: It’s really grown past the rock aspect, too. In a quick scan of prominent wizard bands, all types of musical genres appear to fall under the wizard music umbrella.
PD: Absolutely, which is why I hesitated to label it as wizard rock, because it’s really grown over the years.
TTN: Other than the bluntly obvious, what inspired you to start Harry and the Potters?
PD: I guess we were inspired by the effect that the book was having on people and popular culture in general. I was 21 when I first read the books, and seeing how so many kids were reading these books was what initially drew me in.
TTN: What are some of the things you have planned for the Yule Ball?
PD: We’ve had it in Boston the past couple years because of my brother’s college commitments, but now we’re back in Philadelphia. We picked our favorite wizard and muggle bands for the show, including The Whomping Willows, Justin Finch-Fletchley and the Sugar Quills and MC Kreacher.
TTN: And what about the Muggle bands?
PD: We’ve got Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt and Rich Aucoin, who I’m especially excited for because his shows are nuts. He fronts an electro-pop band from Canada, and his shows are always high intensity and fun, and we’re really pumped to have him.
TTN: After all your years of touring, what is your favorite wizard band name?
PD: I think my favorite name from a band we toured with was a band that opened for us called The J.K. Rowling Stones, which I thought was brilliant.
TTN: Speaking of J.K. Rowling, have you ever been contacted by the author or vice versa?
PD: We had a very indirect sort of interaction with her. I was overseas shooting a documentary that hasn’t come out yet, and we stopped by J.K. Rowling’s office, but she wasn’t there. It was right around the time of the crazy financial meltdown, so she was losing a lot of money. I had found this strange trophy of a witch on a broomstick at a swap shop, and thought it was a perfect gift for someone like her. So I had it inscribed to read “J.K. Rowling: World’s Greatest Witch! Love, Harry and the Potters.” Then, I filled a box with those bouncy balls that light up when you throw them on the ground to go in the box with the witch figure. It looked very magical.
TTN: That sounds very magical.
PD: Exactly! So I left the box in her office with her assistant with these very elaborate instructions on how to open it. And then the next day, I got an e-mail from her saying how it had really made her day, and I was really happy that I could raise her spirits considering all that she’s done. The way I see it, J.K. Rowling deserves to be happy every single day until she dies because of how much joy she’s brought into the world.
Kevin Stairicker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.