Wizard Rock: Harry Potter Goes Punk As the world awaits the last book in the Harry Potter series, several artists have used the Hogwarts characters as inspiration for a different genre: punk rock. The genre started with two Boston-based brothers who make up the group Harry and the Potters.
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Wizard Rock: Harry Potter Goes Punk

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Wizard Rock: Harry Potter Goes Punk

Wizard Rock: Harry Potter Goes Punk

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DEBORAH AMOS, host:

Back now with DAY TO DAY.

While millions worldwide are waiting for the last book in the Harry Potter series, there are a bunch of artists who have used the Hogwarts characters as inspiration for an entirely different genre, punk rock. Groups like Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys are playing to audiences of all ages at venues around the globe. NPR's Melody Kramer has more on the growing wizard rock movement.

MELODY KRAMER: Brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge are standing on a stage outside the Free Library of Philadelphia.

They're wearing gray sweaters with maroon and yellow tags. Those are Gryffindor colors. Gryffindor is Harry Potter's house at Hogwarts, where Harry goes to school. And on stage, these brothers from Boston are Harry Potter.

Mr. PAUL DEGEORGE (Member, Harry and the Potters): Anyway, I'm Harry Potter.

Mr. JOE DEGEORGE: (Member, Harry and the Potters): And I'm Harry Potter.

Mr. PAUL DEGEORGE (Member, Harry and the Potters): And we are Harry and the Potters. And we came to Philadelphia to the library to rock it down today.

KRAMER: Five years ago, Paul and Joe invented wizard rock in their backyard as a joke. Their genre answers the question, what would Harry Potter sing if he were in a band?

(Soundbite of song, "Platform 9 and 3/4")

HARRY AND THE POTTERS: (Singing) Oh the bus don't go to Hogwarts, you got to take the train. No, the bus don't go to Hogwarts, you got to take the train. And we'll take the train from platform nine and three quarters, and we'll take the train from platform nine and three quarters...

KRAMER: The Potters take on many topics, from traveling to school to saving Harry's friend Ginny from a giant snake.

(Soundbite of song, "Save Ginny Weasley")

HARRY AND THE POTTERS: (Singing) We've got to save Ginny Weasley from the basilisk. We've got to save...

KRAMER: But the band that started as a joke has just finished touring Europe and they're currently in the middle of a tour that will take them to over 60 cities in North America. In each location, hundreds of fans travel to see them play.

(Soundbite of song, "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock")

HARRY AND THE POTTERS: (Singing) Voldemort can't stop the rock.

KRAMER: And it's not just The Potters. There are now over 40 other wizard rock bands. They have names like Draco and the Malfoys, the Whomping Willow, the Remus Lupins, the death metal band Voldemort. And like the Potters, these bands also travel the library circuits.

Mr. JOSH KOURY (Director, Editor, Cinematographer): We found that over the past years, they have these clan of people, much like the Dead did, who travel show to show.

KRAMER: Josh Koury is making a documentary with his friend, Gerald Lewis, about Harry Potter fans. He says fans for the group who travel the country come in all ages. Like 15-year-old Miryam Coppersmith.

Ms. MIRYAM COPPERSMITH (Fan): I mean, you go and you see the movies and they cannot portray the book as well as they do in their music. Their music captures the essence of the book so much better than any sort of other media has been able to do. So like that's why I love it. It's great.

KRAMER: Miryam traveled to Philadelphia from Staten Island with her sister and her mom, Suzanne Bernstein, to see Harry and the Potters for the fifth time.

Ms. SUZANNE BERNSTEIN (Mother): We have all their albums. And I actually listen to them in the car even when the kids aren't in the car.

KRAMER: How old are you?

Ms BERNSTEIN: I have to say that, right? I am 55.

KRAMER: Bernstein says she prefers the music over the movie versions of the books and even sometimes the books themselves.

Ms. BERNSTEIN: It's almost like the first time you read the book. But with music, you can listen to it over and over again. It's very cool.

Prof. DAVID GRAZIAN (University of Pennsylvania): Concertgoers can get together with other fans and sort of experience these books but in a collective way.

KRAMER: That sense of community is important, says David Grazian, who studies the sociology of pop culture at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prof. GRAZIAN: Whereas we're used to thinking about reading as an individual kind of cultural practice. And this is a way for people to enjoy these books in the company of fellow fans.

KRAMER: The bands are popular with teens and adults...

(Soundbite of electric guitar)

KRAMER: ...and especially with librarians. Cindy B. Haynes is the children's librarian at the Fairfield Public Library in Fairfield, Connecticut. She's amazed that over 100 people showed up to the library on a Friday night to see Draco and the Malfoys and the Whomping Willow. A typical Friday draws maybe 10?

Ms. CINDY B. HAYNES (Librarian, Fairfield Public Library): These kids clearly are still following it. And everybody's going to read that last book. You just have to. You know, you've got to finish it and see what happens.

KRAMER: But the last book, warns Grazian, may mean the end of wizard rock.

Mr. GRAZIAN: Wizard rock will likely, you know, loose its novelty. And indie rock fans are very, very devoted music fans but can be very, very fickle and will be on to the next thing before you know it.

KRAMER: But Josh Koury thinks, like "Lord of the Rings" fans and "Star Wars" fans, Harry Potter rock fans will still listen.

Mr. KOURY: Part of the excitement is waiting for the end, you know, and the expectation of not really knowing where it's going. But I think that a part of it will stay alive.

(Soundbite of song "My Dad Is Rich")

DRACO AND THE MALFOYS: (Singing) My dad is rich and your dad is dead. My dad is rich and your dad is dead.

KRAMER: And songs like this, by Draco and the Malfoys, will continue to entertain fans like Cindy B. Haynes.

Ms. HAYNES: Wizard rock. Rock on.

KRAMER: Melody Kramer, NPR News.

(Soundbite of song "My Dad Is Rich")

DRACO AND THE MALFOYS: (Singing) You may have freed our house-elf or brought doubt to our family name. But your parents still got toasted...

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