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[Show music begins]
Micah: Because Matt can feel it, this is MuggleCast Episode 130 for February 2nd, 2008.
[Show music continues to play]
Andrew: I have a story that I thought I could kick the show off with this week. I was in the bathroom the other day and I was using Neutrogena Facial Scrub for acne for my face...
Andrew: ...and I'm putting this scrub on my face and I'm rubbing it and it gets in front of my nose. And I breathe out of my nose, and I actually created an air bubble in my right nostril as I blew because the soap was right in front of my nose so I blew this huge bubble. I was like, "Whoa! This is cool. I'm going to talk about this on the show." And then it popped.
Matt: Are you serious?
Eric: First time listeners we...
Eric: ...welcome you to MuggleCast, a Harry Potter related discussion podcast.
Andrew: I thought it was a good story, and I thought it was funny.
Laura: No, Andrew.
Matt: Well, you need to think harder.
[Matt and Laura laugh]
Eric: But Andrew, you have some how tie that. You have to some how Make The Connection, even though Jamie's not here, you have to - Like if it were Jamie, say, [In fake British accent] "I was shaving and I blew this bubble..."
Andrew: Well, it was unexpected and surprising. Just like everything in the Harry Potter books. And it was fun. I wish I could have taken a picture.
Eric: Well, it's a good story, I wish I shaved.
Andrew: You don't have to shave. Jamie doesn't have to shave. Eric doesn't have to shave. I have to shave, like, hourly my facial hair has grown in so quick. I'm so manly.
Matt: You are such a liar.
Laura: Oh my god.
Eric: You're very manly, Andrew.
Andrew: Laura has to shave like once a week.
Laura: Oh, yeah. That's right.
Laura: I forgot about that.
Andrew: Yeah. How about that. Yeah, so we have a good show this week. We are going to talk with Paul DeGeorge of Harry and the Potters. He has a new charity effort out, and we are going to talk to him about that, and also he is going to reveal a new MuggleNet demo, well, actually its not new, it's been around since 2005, but it hasn't been released to the world until now. It's a demo song about MuggleNet. It's fantastic. So, I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Laura: I'm Laura Thompson.
Matt: I'm Matthew Britton.
Mikey: And I'm Mikey B.
Andrew: And Mikey B's here!
Mikey: Yay! Wooo!
[Show music continues to play]
Andrew: Micah Tannenbaum is in the MuggleCast news center with the past weeks top Harry Potter news stories. Hey, Micah.
Micah: All right. Thanks, Andrew. Although he has shown an interest in working on the much anticipated final installment of the Harry Potter film series, it has emerged today that Guillermo del Toro will not be directing Deathly Hallows since "he's rather busy," as put by producer David Heyman. In fact, it seems that he will instead be taking the reigns of The Hobbit and its sequel film. Since Deathly Hallows is set for release in 2010, and principal photography for The Hobbit begins in 2009, he would not be able to work on both projects.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been awarded with an outstanding achievement prize at the UK's The South Bank Show Awards, which recognize British achievement in music, theatre, television and the arts. The awards will be broadcast on February 3 on ITV1.
As we told you earlier this week, filming crews are preparing to start shooting scenes for Half-Blood Prince at Gloucester Cathedral. (If I get one more e-mail, I swear, I'm going to go crazy.) As you can see from the photos, preparations are clearly underway. We'll update you as we know more.
And those of you in Canada will get a chance to see James Runcie's documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life this Monday, February 4th at 10:00 p.m. easter on CBC Newsworld. The documentary originally aired back in December on ITV. We will keep you posted on any plans for it to air here in the United States.
Finally, there will be a new face to the character of Pansy Parkinson in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A&J Management is reporting today that Scarlett Byrne has been cast in the role of the sixth-year Slytherin in the upcoming Potter film. The part was originated by Genevieve Gaunt in Prisoner of Azkaban.
That's all the news for this February 2nd, 2008 edition of MuggleCast. Back to the show.
[Show music starts to fade]
Andrew: All right, thanks to Micah for that. Once again it was another one of those slow news weeks, but there's going to be some interesting news coming out within the next couple of months, concerning the 7th film, but we haven't really - There's no official, official, official, official, announcement yet. So, we'll have to wait for that, but in the meantime this week, we find out that, what's his name, del Toro is directing The Hobbit.
Matt: Well, not technically directing, just yet.
Andrew: What do you mean?
Matt: He's in talks with them right now.
Andrew: So, he...
Mikey: So, he hasn't signed his contract yet.
Matt: No, Andrew.
Andrew: Oh, I thought he was signed.
Matt: But he's showing very much interest and Peter Jackson and apparently - It's going to happen, but it's just official yet.
Andrew: [laughs] Okay. All right.
Mikey: Wait, you know what? Honestly, it's going to happen 'cause del Toro is just amazing, and him directing The Hobbit because Jackson doesn't want to right now. Jackson has so much on his plate, it's ridiculous.
Eric: He does! And I love all the films he's doing right now.
Mikey: He's producing so many films right now. He's also doing the Halo movie, too.
Eric: Oh right. But...
Mikey: And he's...
Matt: Tin Tin. He's doing the Adventures of Tin Tin with, possibly Rupert Grint, that they were talking about.
Eric: Yeah, that's...
Matt: A long time ago.
Eric: That's true, but what would Peter Jackson just - now he's having, obviously, some creative control of Hobbit, isn't he? I mean, I...
Matt: Oh, yeah.
Eric: It just shocks me...
Mikey: Well, yeah. He's a producer...
Eric: ...that he wouldn't be directing.
Mikey: He's a producer so...
Eric: Well, that's why I was asking.
Mikey: Well, a producer doesn't have as much creative control as a director or even, you know, people that are going to be storyboarding it for him in general.
Mikey: Deciding where things are going to go. But, he's definitely going to be there to collaborate. Because, truthfully what's going to happen is any director, especially if you have someone that talented as your producer, you're going to ask what does he think about what's going on. Just like, my biggest concern last summer. Michael Bay did Transformers, and I was a huge fan of Transformers when I was younger. But I hate Michael Bay as a director. Not anymore.
Mikey: I think he did good on that movie. I really hated a lot of the stuff he had done. A lot of stuff he had done was bad. But, he had Spielberg as his producer on that movie.
Andrew: Matt, does this come as disappointing news to you? Because I know you were hoping for del Toro to direct.
Matt: It's kind of bittersweet, I guess. Because...
Matt: ...I mean, I really like del Toro as a director. I mean, I love, I absolutely love Pan's Labyrinth. But, knowing that he's going to direct The Hobbit, which I'm a huge fan of the book also, I really can't complain.
Mikey: Now Matt, I know you're a del Toro fan. Are you excited for Hellboy II as much as I am?
Matt: Yeah. A little bit.
Mikey: Come on. Have you seen the trailer? Del Toro, he like, when he released the trailer...
Matt: I was being sarcastic.
Mikey: ...and he's like, "Everybody, this is Hellboy II." Like, he was so excited to do Hellboy I and Hellboy II. And I just think everything del Toro does is...
Matt: Everything he does is good.
Mikey: ...pretty amazing. As of, like, recently.
Andrew: Well, we'll wait for more developments about the movie. But, it should be very interesting to see how they're going to, you know - of course, there's still the rumors going around about Deathly Hallows being split into two movies and then of course we've still got to hear about the director. So, we're hoping for an announcement about all that soon. If I was a betting man, which I'm not, but if I was I would say that Deathly Hallows is definitely going to be split into two.
Andrew: But that's just if I was a betting man.
Mikey: Do you think it's going to be split into two or just, like, a long movie?
Andrew: No, I think it's going to be split into two separate films.
Matt: I hope so.
Eric: Why would they do that, Andrew?
Matt: Because they want it...
Matt: ...to be good, I guess.
Mikey: Money. [laughs] Well, no. Money. [laughs]
Laura: Yeah, exactly.
Mikey: That means they're going to get all of us to go twice [laughs] to see the movie. And buy two different DVDs and then when they come out as the combined DVD, buy the combined DVD one.
Andrew: Yeah, that's...
Andrew: That's true, too. Well, we'll have a really good - I'm sure we'll have a really good discussion once there is an announcement made about, you know, the film being split into two. Of course, if that happens. Okay, so moving on, announcements real quick. It is a new month. Happy February everyone, it's the month of love. Vote for us on Podcast Alley; get us up there in the top ten. We already are now, on February 1st, but there's only a handful of votes. So thank you for placing your vote over there. I know I voted earlier today, place my vote.
Mikey: So did I.
Andrew: Good, good.
Matt: You liar. You did not.
Andrew: I did too. I have the confirmation e-mail to prove it. It's easy, it's very easy. You just go to Podcast Alley. You hit "vote," for us, obviously. And you put in your e-mail address and you click the link they -email it to you and you're done. Also, just a little update on the little east coast tour we're hoping to put together. One bookstore chain turned us down because they would rather we do a tour in the summer around Harry's birthday or the Book 7 paperback release. But, of course we can't. We don't really want to do it then, it's too late. We want to do spring break. So, we're looking at other options right now, and hopefully we'll have something more firm to announce within the next few weeks. But we are still working on it, just so everybody knows. But let's get right into Muggle Mail now, because we have a lot to discuss on this week's show.
Eric: Okay, our first one comes from Emily Kate, age 16, from Bangladesh. She says:
"Dear MuggleCasters, I was sitting in study hall listening to MuggleCast and I had made it through almost all of Episode 129 without my study hall supervisor noticing that I was listening to my iPod (which I'm technically not supposed to listen to in class). There was about a minute left in the show when you guys were talking about Micah's "pregnant comment" and I started laughing so loud the supervisor came over and I didn't notice. I had my iPod taken away but I got it at the end of the day. But it was a great episode. So worth it."
Mikey: You know, I've actually done that before, too. I was listening to an episode - I don't know, I think it was an early episode of MuggleCast. And I'm just, like, sitting there. And then I start cracking up out loud. And I'm sure it's something Ben or Jamie did when they yelled at each other.
Andrew: No, I'm sure it was my joke.
Laura: I'm sure it wasn't.
Mikey: Actually, you know what? It was right, I think it was the "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"
Mikey: Or something like that.
Mikey: Something like that. Or Simmsy or something like that.
Andrew: Yeah, we get e-mails like this from time to time, saying that we do that. We get people in trouble in science class and whatnot. But, yeah, that's funny.
Mikey: But you should be paying attention to your classes because education...
Andrew: Yes, you should.
Mikey: ...is for the future. It's for the future.
Eric: Well, it was study hall. It was study hall.
Andrew: That's not important.
Eric: I always used to sleep in study hall.
Andrew: The next e-mail comes from Jeff, 23, of Connecticut. He writes:
"In regards to tracking Umbridge to the Ministry, I believe it was said in the book that only top officials were allowed to directly apparate inside the building. Umbridge, being undersecretary to the Minister, would most likely have been one of said "top officials." Therefore, it probably would not have gone unnoticed if Kreacher showed up in the middle of the atrium and apparated away with one of the top officials. Unless they were able to somehow track down where Umbridge lived, the Ministry seems to be the only way of finding her.
Next, as far as Harry once again seeing into Voldemort's mind, not only was it useful, but in the book it also stated that Harry gained control over the visions while burying Dobby after their escape from Malfoy Manor. On page 478 in the American edition it says,'His scar burned, yet he was master of the pain; he felt it, yet was apart from it. He had learned control at least, learned to shut his mind to Voldemort, the very thing Dumbledore had wanted him to learn from Snape.' I think this was useful because after this he seems to be able to invade Voldemort's mind whenever he wants. I think this was crucial to the book because it was probably the only instance in the whole series where Harry seemed to have a true magical talent over Voldemort. This may not be very relevant to the chapters you were discussing in your last episode but I think they were nonetheless important to the story. But to conclude, maybe Hermione was right to tell Harry he should block out those visions, because in the end it gave him the control to look into Voldemort's mind whenever he wanted, which Hermione even encouraged him to do during the Battle for Hogwarts."
So, yeah, that's basically the point I was making. It just works to their advantage. It's not necessarily a bad thing.
Eric: Harry won the argument when he was talking to Hermione in the bathroom. He was like, "You know, I'm totally going to do this, and I want to know what my enemy is doing."
Eric: And Hermione was like, "whatever."
Matt: This is probably why I like...
Mikey: Don't argue.
Matt: ...Book 7 so much for Harry. It's because he's just so certain now, you know? He actually knows more than a lot of the people who are trying to inform him on.
Laura: Right, yeah.
Andrew: He's very confident.
Matt: Yeah, he's the most confident in the series.
Eric: Like I just read the Lupin scene today, and even though you're shocked about how Harry acted, it's just - it's so well done, and then Harry's like, you know, his own person. It's really cool.
Laura: All right, this one comes from Alexis from Westchester, New York. She writes:
"Hi everyone. I just listened to Episode 129, and was particularly intrigued by the lengthy discussion about parallels between Harry Potter and the Holocaust. As Laura said, Buchenwald and Auschwitz were Nazi concentration camps in Germany created and used to, in essence, exterminate European Jews. Nuremburg and Auschwitz had the words 'Work Makes Freedom' carved into its front gate. Nurmengard was a prison that housed Grindelwald's opponents, and its entrance bore the slogan, 'For the Greater Good.' As also stated during the show, Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in 1945, which is another parallel to the Holocaust. The prejudice demonstrated by the Holocaust still haunts us today, by way of racism and genocide in our world. In the wizarding world, Grindelwald's ideas are projected through Voldemort and the pureblood/Muggle-born prejudice we've seen since 'Chamber of Secrets.' Just wanted to add to the Harry Potter/Holocaust discussion because I've spent years learning about the Holocaust. I love the show and I hope to meet up with you at the New York live podcast."
Andrew: If we do it.
Laura: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, it is really interesting that you bring up that point that Auschwitz had the "Work Makes Freedom" sign. You can actually read that in Elie Wiesel's Night, which is an account of...
Eric: Elie himself.
Laura: Yes. He was a Hungarian Jew who spent time in Auschwitz.
Eric: I read that book in, I think it was seventh grade, and it was a really powerful book, and also, though, I've been to a concentration camp. I went to Dachau when I was in Germany, and that also has the sign above the entrance. It's - I believe it translates to "Work makes one free," or "Work makes freedom," same deal. "Work makes one free" is pretty much kind of ironic, but that's what the Nazis put on the gates of the entrance of the work camps.
Eric: So, I've been there in person. It's a really somber, solemn place.
Laura: Well, and it's just interesting that Jo kind of used that whole "For the Greater Good" thing, because that's a lot of what the Nazi propaganda was based on, just this idea that they were going to purify Germany and keep the evil, dirty Jews out and the perfect, wonderful Aryans in, and it's just - it's awful.
Eric: Yes. Absolutely. And last chapter, you guys, did you guys talk about the throne of Muggles? The throne made of Muggle bodies?
Andrew: Yeah. Yes, we did.
Eric: Yeah, because that was really - there's something, there's a structure in Dachau like that, and it's a bit sickening.
Andrew: Really? Is it the same thing?
Eric: It's not a throne of bodies, but I think it was a wall made of impressions of bodies, or something. It was actually of all the Jews and stuff. If was actually quite grotesque, but I think it's inside Dachau.
Andrew: I bet.
Eric: So there's something quite very similar that I've seen in real person, and it's just really, really strong parallels in Jo's book, and earlier I questioned, and this relates to this chapter, too. Earlier on the show I questioned some of the parallels. I said, "Do we really need a Nazi parallel in J.K. Rowling's works?" I think reading these chapters, I think, really it sort of made me rethink that comment, and I'm really happy with this parallel because in a way, just the way that we see the Ministry befallen in these past few chapters, and now, with what Lupin is telling them, and all this stuff, of how the tabloids are taken, and all of this stuff we're seeing, it's good to have it in a children's book.
Eric: Because all these kids who read about the Holocaust are seeing it also happen in their favorite - to their favorite boy wizard, to have it happen to Harry Potter. So I'm really proud of Jo for this, and I retract what I said before about it not really being needed. I think it's really good.
Matt: Okay, and our next e-mail comes from Emily Rowe, 18, from Rockaway, New Jersey, and she writes:
"While listening to last week's Episode, 129, I noticed that you guys also recognized the parallel between the Death Eaters and the Nazi Party of Germany. If you will, let me throw in my two cents about this parallel.
One, Hitler's main focus of prejudice during the Holocaust was the Jews when he himself had Jewish blood in him. Voldemort thought that Muggle-borns and half-bloods were unfit to practice magic, when he himself was half-Muggle. And even if he resents that part of him, it does not take away the fact that he has Muggle blood in him.
The next point is the one I stress most. The Swastika had been used for thousands of years as an Asian symbol for peace and prosperity. If you take a look at artifacts from India or anywhere else in Asia, you will see the swastika carved into them. Then Hitler got a hold of it, flipped it around and tilted it on its side to associate it with the Nazi party. This is similar to Grindelwald's situation with the Deathly Hallows symbol. He posted this symbol on the walls of Durmstrang and it became negatively associated with him considering that he became a notorious Dark Wizard. But was the symbol for the Deathly Hallows really that bad? Did it really represent something evil like destroying Muggle-borns?
That's all I have to comment on that subject. I love listening to you guys, and it really makes my day! Keep up the fantastic work. Emily."
Laura: Can I first interject something? About the Hitler is Jewish thing, that's actually not proven. No one knows for sure. Where the theory comes from is Hitler's grandfather, they believe Hitler's grandfather may have been part Jewish because his father was an illegitimate child and so it's possible that his grandmother, they know that she worked in the home of a wealthy Jew, so it's possible that the son of the household got her pregnant, but no one knows for sure. But everyone does know that Hitler did not practice Judaism. So, just to clear that up.
Matt: No, I'm sure he didn't.
[Andrew and Matt laugh]
Laura: So it's - I don't think it's really fair to say that he was Jewish, because..
Matt: I do agree though with her second point, though. I think that really is a...
Andrew: That's a very nice connection.
Matt: It's a good parallel between Deathly Hallows.
Mikey: I actually said that over the tour. I said that over the tour once.
Andrew: Did you?
Mikey: Yeah, but we kind of skipped over it.
Eric: That Deathly Hallows symbol, we talked about it. I remember talking about it when we did the chapter "The Wedding," and just saying about it. We don't actually know, you know. Krum said that it was Grindelwald's symbol, and Krum was sort of really adamant that Grindewald killed a lot of people. We don't really know exactly what Grindelwald did, do we? You know, as of the end of the seventh book? We just know that he was all about sort of wizard above Muggle. And that's sort of how that worked.
Matt: But you know, we can't really just - it can't be really a World War II Nazi comparison, too, because it happened way down in the past, too, like with the Devil's Pitchfork, it's actually a triton from Neptune, I think it was.
Eric: Yeah. Well religious symbolism, yeah. It was actually from - the Pagans used that symbol too. And so it's...
Matt: Right, and the Pagan witch hat too. They associate that with evil.
Eric: Yeah, yeah exactly. All this, it's actually called iconography, I think. Or religious iconography.
Matt: Oh, of course.
Eric: Or something like that. There's a bunch of names for it.
Mikey: No, that's actually what it's called. That's what it's called.
Eric: That's what Robert Langdon studies, I think. Isn't it? In Da Vinci Code, and in Angels and Demons?
Matt: Da Vinci Code? Yeah.
[Eric makes happy noise]
Mikey: Yup. And Angels and Demons.
Eric: There's all sorts of talk about it. It's really fantastic, the history of symbols and stuff like that. That's all in that book.
Andrew: Well let's just keep rollin' along here. Right now we're joined by Paul DeGeorge now who is Harry, Year 7 in Harry and the Potters. Paul, how are you doing today?
Paul: Hi Andrew, thanks so much for having me on. This is my first MuggleCast appearance, I'm really pumped.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Yes. Well we wanted to have you on for a couple reasons today. First of all, we want to talk about Harry and the Potters though, because essentially it was the first wizard rock band, right? I mean, do you like to take credit for it, or do you give it to, what is it, The Switchblade Kittens?
Paul: Well, you know, I don't mind taking credit for it if you're going to give it to me.
Andrew:[laughs] Uh huh.
Paul: Sure, I mean really like Joe and I, I guess, were the first ones to sort of like do something so conceptually consistent, where we sort of adopted the characters of Harry and created our own band around it.
Paul: Where we're exclusively doing like, Joe is Harry, Year 4 and I'm Harry, Year 7, and through the magic of time travel we're able to start a band together, you know. Kind of just assuming that if Harry had that ability to travel through time, that's what he'd choose to do with it. I guess.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Why did you do Harry, Year 7 and Harry, Year 4?
Paul: Well, at the time we started, which was almost six years ago now, Joe was about 14 and so we thought, well that's about Year 4, right?
Andrew: Ohhh. Right.
Paul: He was just about to turn 15. So that put - that's where Joe goes, and I was a little older, like I was in my early 20s, so I was like, well you know all those characters on Beverly Hills 90210 were like in their 20s playing high school kids.
Andrew: [laughs] Right.
Paul: So we decided to go for that. Like I'd be Harry, Year 7, and since then we've taken a kind of Simpsons approach to it, where we don't ever age.
Andrew: You never age.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Yeah, as is the case with most TV shows these days. Why did you start the wizard rock band? Why Harry and the Potters? Why Harry Potter music, since there was nothing at the time.
Paul: Yeah, well you know, Joe and I had played in bands, but we'd never played together. We're brothers, but there's eight years between us, so we never played in a band together, and we kind of - the idea just came to me one day like, what if Harry Potter had a band? You know? And I thought, well that's something so cool to do with my younger brother, you know?
Paul: Is to do this goofy, silly, fun band, and what really appealed to us about it was, you know, these Harry Potter books had had such a huge affect on so many young people's lives, you know? Inspiring kids to read, and getting so many kids involved in literature. We thought well maybe we can sort of take that to a new level and you know, if we start this band and write some rock and roll songs about these books, maybe we can convince libraries to let us come and play in their library. Play these rock shows and get younger kids involved in rock and roll and seeing live music.
Paul: And that's what it was like at first, you know? We would be playing in these libraries around Boston, and a lot of parents would take their younger kids like between 8 and 12 years old to come see us, and it was great. We had no audience established, and we were playing to rooms of 50-100 young kids and eventually, this was back in 2003, we noticed over the course of the summer that year as we had played in all these libraries around Boston more kids were coming regularly, and they would start to know all the words to our songs like they'd gotten our CD or something at a show.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Paul: They were coming, and they'd know all the words to the song. I was like, "This is incredible!"
Paul: And then shortly after that, the Harry Potter fan community sort of caught wind of us, and that's when things just kind of got crazy for us. We honestly at the time had no idea that such a thing existed- that there was this incredibly cohesive and enthusiastic online fan community, and it was actually, oddly enough - a post on MuggleNet at some point in the fall of 2003 that really slammed our web server, and...
Paul: ...shut us down for a few days, I think. And that's when our band sort of took a national presence, I guess.
Andrew: Yeah. You know, it's funny you say that because for the past couple years now, we've been - we always thought that we were the first ones to post about you guys. And then Melissa came to me - Melissa Anelli from Leaky came to me a few months ago and said, "Could you find the post where you guys made the Wizard Rock, where you plugged Harry and the Potters?" And I looked it up, and I found it, and we actually credited Veritaserum for tipping us off.
Paul: Oh. Okay, okay.
Andrew: [laughs] So we were like, whoa! It actually wasn't MuggleNet, but yeah, we did post that because I remember. I think it was Ben who posted it, or maybe Emerson. Do you remember who it was?
Paul: No, I can't remember.
Paul: I just remember being like, "Whoa! Look at all these websites. They're all about Harry Potter!" [laughs] So that was my introduction to the online fan community. It was around that, at the same time, maybe just a few days before, it was really the Live Journal community that created a buzz about us. Some fan fiction writers and stuff just started mentioning us, and that kind of took off.
Paul: All of a sudden I had a 400 dollar bandwidth charge for the month, you know?
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Right. And now you guys are on Trivial Pursuit cards. [laughs]
Paul: Oh man. [laughs]
Andrew: Do you want to tell this story? [laughs]
Paul: Yeah. I guess we've come a long way in these last few years.
Paul: We got on a - that's the most incredible thing that's happened to us, I think.
Andrew: Mhm. [laughs]
Paul: Just a couple weeks ago, somebody sent in a JPEG, and it was a photograph of a Trivial Pursuit card from Sweden.
Paul: And the question reads, "What do brothers Paul and Joe DeGeorge call themselves when rock out?"
Andrew: That is amazing.
Paul: Yeah, but the most amazing thing about it is that there isn't even a context for it.
Andrew: Right. [laughs] Right. Right.
Paul: They're just assuming that Joe and I are household names in Sweden.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Paul: Which I think is kind of an outrageous assumption. I think it's probably considered a difficult question in the game.
Andrew: Yeah, that's like something you would expect for Bruce Springsteen. I know you guys are big Springsteen fans. [laughs]
Paul: [laughs] Yeah, right.
Andrew: Like U2 or something. But yeah, that's awesome. That is so cool.
Andrew: [laughs] I wonder if - I bet you guys would love to see the reactions of some people playing that game. They'd be like, "Paul DeGeorge? What?"
Paul: I know, right? [laughs] It'd be amazing. Hopefully somebody's going to send us the card. I think the girl who notified us is going to send us the actual card, so we can frame it.
Andrew: [laughs] Oh yeah, of course.
Paul: That's the kind of thing that you don't even dare to dream about. I mean, what kind of jerky kid says, "Someday I want to be on a Trivial Pursuit Card."
Andrew: [laughs] Right. Like, "What the hell are you thinking?"
[Paul and Andrewlaughs]
Andrew: So, now today, there are literally hundreds of wizard rock bands out there and...
Paul: Yeah, my last count was 420.
Andrew: Oh my God! You count? Where do you count?
Paul: No, I just look up on...
Andrew: Okay. [laughs]
Paul: ...Wizrocklopedia. Then I copy the entire band list into Excel and...
Andrew: Oh, good idea. [laughs]
Paul: ...and let that count for me.
Andrew: That's a good idea, actually.
Paul: So there's a lot.
Paul: There's a lot of wizard rock bands. It's incredible.
Andrew: Do you have any thoughts about this? Just how it's grown so much since you guys started this? I'm sure you're supportive of all these bands, and really it's like, how I see it is it's a great way for anyone interested in music but doesn't know how to get really noticed, it's a great place to start because there's all these Harry Potter fans that are dying to just try out all these new bands.
Paul: Yeah. Well, honestly the way I think of it is it's almost like the beginnings of punk rock, you know? The whole thing about punk rock is that it's the kind of music that anybody can play. And there are these stories about people just grabbing guitars, and drums, and bass for the first time and just playing songs, you know? Whatever came to mind.
Paul: Like bashing it out on a few chords, and that's kind of like what I see in Wizard Rock. It's these kids that are so pumped and amped on Harry Potter that they're just looking for another way to express that love and that passion.
Paul: So they're grabbing instruments and starting bands for the first time, and it's really wonderful. And the cool thing about it is that it allows for such a diversity of music out there. There really is something for everybody in the Wizard Rock community.
Paul: There's all sorts of stuff out there, and there's plenty of like, you know, it get's as abrasive or as pop friendly as you want it to be, you know? There's like, a metal band in Holland playing songs about Voldemort, you know?
Paul: There is black metal...
Paul: ...and there is ultra poppy stuff and dance pop and all that.
Paul: And so it is all there and that is the most amazing thing to me, is what a diverse and welcoming community it's become where kids feel free to really experiment and try things out, and the unreal thing is that there is a community there for them to do it with.
Paul: And to get that feedback and support from. Whereas if it was a different situation, maybe these kids are recording in their bedroom and playing for their friends or something.
Andrew: Right, right.
Paul: That's possibly what this would have been like ten years ago, but with the advent of technology and MySpace, it's so easy for a band to become legitimized by MySpace. You just throw up a profile and all of a sudden you have a band.
Andrew: Exactly. [laughs]
Paul: Throw up a profile and a song and you are a band.
Andrew: Go to MySpace, create an account, boom - you're done.
Paul: Ten minutes. You got a band.
Paul: For real.
Andrew: MySpace really is where every wizard rock band is, right?
Paul: Well, yeah.
Andrew: Why does everyone go to MySpace? Just because it is great to host your songs and all that?
Paul: Well, the thing about MySpace is that - and it's not just wizard rock bands anymore.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Paul: As far as the music industry, it is where everybody, like if you're going to the concert and you're like, "Who is the opening band?" And they're like, "Oh, I don't know, whoever."
Andrew: Oh that's a good point.
Paul: If you go to their MySpace, you can listen to their songs. You know? And then if you went to their website then maybe you would have to dig around to find their songs.
Paul: But you just go to MySpace and the songs are right there and you just listen real quick.
Paul: And so it is just sort of that accessibility of the music that has made MySpace so prevalent in our habits now-a-days.
Andrew: Yeah. That's interesting. And then all your fans can comment on them. Do you guys base - I've always figured this, I don't know if this is how you guys think of it - do you guys base the popularity of all the bands based on how many friends each you have? Because I mean if you look at the list, you guys have a gazillion friends and then everyone is lower from there. How do you guy - do you guys base popularity or does it not matter?
Paul: Yeah. Well, I don't ever measure anything by popularity.
Paul: That is not really a concern of mine, so I just think that I don't really have any comment on that, I guess.
Paul: It is not even something I think about. I mean, who cares what's popular. Just find what you like.
Andrew: Yeah. That's very true. Yeah. Now I guess we will talk about Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club, now.
Andrew: This is your big thing. You started it last year. Now you have got Matt Maggiacomo from The Whomping Willows helping you out. What is the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club?
Paul: Well, the whole idea behind the EP of the Month Club is that it is sort of modeled after these old record clubs, where you would join up, like Subpop used to run a Subpop singles club, and they would release, they started it in the early '80s and the first Nirvana single was released through the Subpop singles club and stuff like that.
Paul: So the idea is that you sign up for a year and it costs like fifty or sixty bucks and every month you get a new record in the mail. It is a seven inch, you know back when records were cool.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Paul: And so it's sort of modeled after that idea, and what we did last year was, we got together - I got together twelve bands that I thought were a good sampling of bands in the community at that time.
Paul: At the time there was far less than 400. There were a hundred or so, so I just picked a bunch of people who I thought would be fun to work with and over the course of a year we released 12 different CDs, and people who subscribed to the club would get a couple CDs at a time in the mail, and we had stuff like Harry and the Potters released a CD and Draco and the Malfoys and The Parselmouths and The Remus Lupins and all these bands were contributing CDs worth of material, usually between five and ten songs that were all made just for this club. They were all exclusive CDs and we pressed a thousand copies of them and sold about 750 subscriptions and each band got a couple hundred copies that they could sell on their merch table, but otherwise all the money from the subscriptions went to an organization called "First Book," which is a national nonprofit that donates new books to children from low income families.
Andrew: Oh wow, that's great.
Paul: So, it is trying to promote literacy at an early age in communities where kids don't often have access to that sort of thing.
Andrew: Yeah. Right.
Paul: Think of the joy as a little kid how pumped you were when you got a new book, or mom brought home something new to read to you at bed or something like that.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Paul: And that is the whole idea behind what they do, and they have been a great organization to work with, and so in 2007 we had the club, and we sold subscriptions and eventually the club sold out. We sold over 750 subscriptions and so far we have raised over $13,000 for "First Book" through subscription sales.
Andrew: Wow! That is incredible!
Paul: Yeah and this year we are doing it again with a whole new set of bands. Harry and the Potters are staying on as a flagship I guess.
Andrew: Of course. [laughs]
Paul: So we will be releasing another CD this year through the club and...
Andrew: All new music, too?
Paul: All new music.
Andrew: Wow! Sweet.
Paul: Yeah, Joe and I, we had a really fun time with it last year, where Joe and I kind of set aside a weekend, and kind of wrote and recorded all the songs that weekend.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs] Cool, cool.
Paul: Like, as fast as we could.
Paul: And we came up with like 14 songs and I think our CD is just under 14 minutes, you know. So, it's just really a quick thrill ride...
Andrew: Uh huh. [laughs]
Paul: Of Wizard Rock.
Paul: But it was super fun for us to do and I had a blast sort of overseeing the club.
Paul: And helping each band put their CD together, like the artwork and all that.
Andrew: Mhm. Yeah, the albums look really cool. They're nice and organized.
Andrew: I mean, you have that certain theme going on with each album cover. It was very nice.
Paul: Right. We tried to have it - give it a consistent feel.
Paul: It feels like you're getting - at the end of the year, you have a collection. You have 12 CDs that all go together in some way and we'll be doing that again this year. We have a different artist on board to handle the overall look of the club.
Andrew: Okay, cool.
Paul: And it's going to look really cool. It's going to look, you know, really wonderful. I've been working with them in the past few days on getting stuff together for this year.
Paul: And this year I got Matt Maggiacomo on board and he's kind of helping. We've been throwing ideas around, you know, and we kind of picked out the bands together.
Paul: We've got a great new troupe of bands, you know, of people. Well, I should mention who the bands are so the people can get excited.
Paul: Matt's band, The Whomping Willows will obviously be contributing an EP, and rumor on the street is that it's going to be the big Whompy EP, so Matt's sort of been teasing everyone with certain big Whompy, like hip-hop style tracks for the past few years.
Andrew: Nice. [laughs]
Paul: And this time he's going to make do on a whole EP's worth, so that's going to be pretty exciting.
Andrew: Awesome. His shows are always fun. I regret to say I haven't been to a Harry and the Potters show yet, but The Whomping Willows - Matt's a really fun guy. He's just playing there with his acoustic guitar. He really interacts with the crowd.
Paul: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Sorry, go on. [laughs] Just had to say it.
Paul: Okay. Yeah, no problem. You'll have to come see us some time, Andrew.
Paul: I'll put you on the guest list at the library.
Paul: That doesn't actually exist.
Paul: Those shows are free.
Andrew: I didn't think so since it's a public library.
Paul: Uh, no. So we got The Whomping Willows and Gred and Forge.
Paul: Which is this guy Jared from North Carolina. I'm really excited about him. He actually just put out one of my favorite Wizard Rock CDs, which is called "Half the Band I Used to Be," which is both a brilliant title and...
Andrew: Cool. Yeah, yeah.
Paul: A brilliant album. Really fun, like poppy, punky stuff, you know?
Paul: Think of a really awesome Green Day songs.
Andrew: Okay, cool.
Paul: And that's the kind of stuff Jared's doing with Gred and Forge.
Andrew: Uh huh.
Paul: We've got Catchlove, which is our favorite - one of our favorite Wizard Rock activists. Chase is an awesome dude and he's all about promoting good causes and that sort of thing. He sort of uses his band, Catchlove, as a forum for Darfur awareness which I think is incredibly wonderful.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah.
Paul: He's become a really great member of the Harry Potter Alliance and stuff. And we got the Hermione Crookshanks Experience from California and a couple really fun acts. We've got Tom Riddle and Friends, who are these two hilarious dudes from the Cincinnati area, I think. They're just kind of - the way Matt described them was he said they're like if Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson started a band about - from Voldemort's perspective, which is really hilarious.
Paul: I totally, totally suggest checking those guys out. Their MySpace has some really fun stuff on it. And The Giant Squid...
Andrew: I have the list right here if you want to...
Paul: Oh, yeah. Okay. Well, I'm going off of the top of my head, but...
Paul: We got The Giant Squid Extravaganza. He's really pro-environmentalist Wizard Rock, sort of. And this is along the same lines as, you know, The Whomping Willows are pretty heavy on the environmental stuff.
Paul: And so is The Giant Squid. He likes to plug that. He's got some good stuff planned for sure.
Andrew: Cool. Uh, The Nifflers?
Paul: Yeah, The Nifflers: Canada's first representative in the Wizard Rock Club.
Andrew: Oh, cool.
Paul: Yeah. They're - I'm such a sucker for these sibling duos, you know?
Paul: Like Draco and the Malfoys. The Nifflers are a brother-sister duo from the Toronto area. Super nice folks.
Andrew: Gryffindor Common Room Rejects.
Paul: Yeah! Oh man, they're great, too.
Paul: They're like a pair of high school girls who produce really cool, low-fi punk rock on keyboards and stuff like that. It's really, really, really fun stuff.
Andrew: All right, cool.
Paul: They kind of remind me of our band, where we would just, like, hit play on one of the keyboard demos and then record a quick song over it. It's just like that.
Andrew: [laughs] Nice and easy.
Paul: [laughs] Yeah, and really fun too.
Paul: And we got Justin Finch-Fetchley, the Hufflepuff representative. He - he's actually one of Matt's old friends from way back. He's kind of in that circle of Woodsocket wizard rockers.
Andrew: Oh, okay.
Paul: Woodsocket, Rhode Island represent.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Paul: And I think the last - oh, The Mudbloods. They're from...
Paul: The Texas area. They're fantastic. I really love their stuff. Just great. Indie rock sounding stuff, and they've got a great attitude, you know?
Paul: We kind of tried to pick bands that we really thought would be the most fun to work with and have a really great positive attitude that reflected what we liked best about wizard rock.
Andrew: Yeah. It all seems they're very - they're all very into - they're supportive of the idea of raising money, since...
Paul: Yeah, well, exactly. You know, that's the whole thing behind the club, the end result. We both want it to be super fun for people....
Paul: ...who are subscribers, and we think it is, because over the course of the year if you subscribe you're going to get 12 CDs, you know? And those 12 CDs are only come to you and a few other hundred people in the world.
Paul: You know? They're just for you, and I think there is something cool behind that. And then at the end of the day, the club costs 60 bucks, and I know that's, like, kind of a lot of money, but at the same time you're getting 12 CDs so it's like 5 bucks a disc.
Paul: And they're all mailed to you. It's very convenient. They show up at your home...
Paul: Once every few months, and then we're going to raise - through it we're going to raise a ton of money, and this year we're sort of expanding it. We're hoping to sell a few more subscriptions this year, and maybe raise almost twice as much money as we did last year.
Andrew: Okay, great.
Paul: And the money this year is going to go to First Book again and we're also throwing some money over to the Harry Potter Alliance's way.
Andrew: That's great. Yeah.
Paul: Because this is going to be a big year for the HP Alliance.
Andrew: Oh definitely. Especially with Jo's backing now.
Paul: Yeah, oh man, what a wonderful - what wonderful comments she made about the HP Alliance recently.
Andrew: Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.
Paul: So, everybody at the HP Alliance is super pumped about that and just feel like this is the time to really reach out to the Harry Potter community and really catalyze them and really do something special together.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely, definitely.
Paul: I think it's part of why Jo's excited about it and part of why the fandom is so excited about it, because it has this sort of momentum to it.
Paul: And the more people that are on board, like, the better the stuff we can do with it.
Andrew: Yeah., yeah.
Paul: You know?
Andrew: Yeah. So, it sounds like a good deal to me. Getting 12 CDs, each with a few songs, what, five to ten songs you would say?
Paul: Yeah, typically five to ten songs from each band, it's great.
Andrew: Okay, cool.
Paul: And those are just for you, just for you wizard rock fans.
Andrew: And they look great. They come - they come professionally packaged, and designed and all that.
Paul: Oh yeah. No rinky-dink operation.
Andrew: [laughs] This is no CDR from Wal-Mart. This is the real deal.
Paul: Oh yeah. They'll go to pressing plants, you know. I have a roommate that's a sound engineer, and he does all the mastering, so they sound great.
Andrew: Oh, good, good.
Paul: And they look great, and the bands are all great, so, you know, check it out. We've got a website that you can subscribe from, which is WizardRockClub.com, and you can totally check out more info on all the bands there and read more about what we're about.
Paul: But you know the gist of it is, we're having fun with wizard rock, and we've got a bunch of great bands involved, and we're raising money for some really great causes.
Paul: That - that really sort of encapsulates, to me, what wizard rock is about. It's about this idea that we're going to have a lot of fun together, and we're going to put smiles on people's faces, and try and do some good in the world too.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. That's great. You guys - the whole wizard rock community has a great sense of just togetherness, and it's like one big family. It's great what you guys have all created together.
Paul: Well, you know, it kind of stems from the whole Harry Potter fan community, actually. Like, I don't think it's unique at all to wizard rock. What it is, is it's really the Harry Potter community...
Andrew: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Paul: That's unique in that way now.
Paul: Yeah, I mean, wizard rock - the bands help each other out and all that, but when you look at the Harry Potter community as a whole it's such a welcoming place, you know?
Paul: And there are so many people that contribute to that, you know? Like you guys at MuggleNet are such a major part of that in bringing people together, you know?
Paul: I'm sure you guys must hear testimonials all the time, like, you know, these people met their best friends ever...
Andrew: Oh, god yeah.
Paul: ...through MuggleNet. Yeah.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah.
Paul: Yeah, it's such a wonderful thing. It's so cool to hear those stories and realize that, well, not only have these books changed people's lives in such a significant way, but really, like, they've created this community and these people are continuing to interact and be such a tremendously positive force in each other's lives and now, through - through things like Wizard Rock and the Harry Potter Alliance, are taking that to the next level where we're branching outside the community...
Paul: ...of Harry Potter fans and, like, getting out into the real world and, like - and doing some really cool stuff...
Paul: ...even outside the fan community.
Andrew: There's quite a few examples of that in our fandom.
Andrew: It's great. And, I mean, if - anyone listening, if you've never been to a Wizard Rock show, I highly recommend a Wizard Rock show with a few bands all coming together to play or even just one by themselves. I mean, they're always a lot of fun and like Paul was saying, you know, you guys - you guys were impressed by some people singing your songs. I mean, now it's like, all these people coming out to the shows are always singing along and dancing and just having a great time.
Paul: Yeah, it really is something special and unique, you know, and pure. So, I would definitely advise anyone to go check out a Wizard Rock show in your area because there's a lot of cool stuff going on and you're bound - you're bound to have a good time, you know. You're going to leave smiling. I've never had any sort of, like, real negative experience at one of these shows, you know?
Andrew: Oh, no.
Paul: Everybody - everybody goes with such a positive attitude.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely.
Paul: And when I think about the time I wasted at like, other boring concerts where people go and they, like, stand with their arms crossed and it's almost like they go to, like, tear a band apart...
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Paul: You know, like, "This band sucked" or "That band sucked." But, like, Wizard Rock is like a total antithesis of that.
Andrew: Yeah. [laughs]
Paul: Where people are going because they want to have a good time. They want to see people. They want to have fun.
Paul: They want to get dressed up. Whatever. You know?
Andrew: And it's a great time with all their friends and you meet new friends there. It's just wonderful.
Andrew: Definitely. Well, is there anything else you wanted to bring up? Should we wrap this up?
Paul: You know, earlier, before we started recording we mentioned that...
Andrew: Oh. [laughs]
Paul: ...back in the day, back in the day - I think it was early 2005.
Paul: So about three years ago, Harry and the Potters - we were kind of working with MuggleNet loosely for a Book 6 launch event and that's when I started interacting with some of your staffers, I think.
Paul: At the time - I don't know if it was one of your guys' ideas or mine, but I put together a MuggleNet theme song...
Paul: Which we never officially recorded, but which I did send - send into the MuggleNet circle.
Paul: So, I think now it's time for the official premiere of that.
Andrew: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Paul: That theme song.
Andrew: Three years later. [laughs]
Paul: I'm going to - three years later...
Andrew: It's time for its premiere. [laughs]
Paul: We'll dig up the demo and you can premiere it on this Muggle - MuggleCast here. It's not a MuggleCast theme, but, you know, MuggleNet. Close enough. Actually, I could - you could just over-dub me. Ready? Here's the clip. MuggleCast! So you can over-dub that at the end.
Andrew: Okay. Well, we'll...
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Well, we'll have two versions: MuggleNet and MuggleCast.
Paul: There you go.
Andrew: We'll just rearrange your words and all that. No, but - alright. Let's play the clip now.
[Plays the clip]
We'll post the news
And your magic-hungry Muggle eyes
Will devour every word
Trying to pacify your appetite
For boy-wizard related things
How can there be so much Harry Potter news?
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: Ah. Brings back memories.
Andrew: So, well, that's great. [laughs] That's great, Paul. We thank you so much for making that. I'm sure - I'm sure that will get some feedback.
Paul: No problem. It was no trouble.
Andrew: I remember over - I guess, maybe it was summer 2005 or summer 2006, Ben was always singing that song left and right at opportune moments.
Paul: Nice. It's glad - I'm glad to know that it kind of lived on within the MuggleNet staff, you know?
Andrew: It did. Yeah, it did.
Paul: Even though it never made its way public until now.
Andrew: I almost forgot about it...
Paul: The world premiere.
Andrew: Until you brought it up before we started recording. But it's good.
[Andrew and Paul laugh]
Andrew: All right, well, Paul DeGeorge, thank you so much for joining us today on MuggleCast.
Paul: Yeah, thank you so much, Andrew, for having me.
Andrew: No problem. We'll check out your MySpace, www.MySpace.com/harryandthepotters, and also you're in our new Wizard Rock section and you wrote up a lengthy interview for us. Thanks for doing that.
Paul: [laughs] Yeah. I went kind of crazy on it. I had a lot of time on a bus ride, so I just...
Andrew: No, it's great! It's great!
Paul: ...went ballistic on your interview questions. [laughs]
Andrew: Well, it's all good. I'm sure everyone will be enjoying that.
Paul: Cool! Great!
Andrew: All right, Paul, thanks very much!
Paul: Thanks, Andrew!
Andrew: Talk to you again soon.
Paul: All right.
Andrew: That was Paul DeGeorge of Harry and the Potters. He's like Harry himself, practically. He's like just as popular.
Matt: He's kind of a big thing.
Andrew: Yeah, he's sort of a somebody in the Wizard Rock world. I'll put it that way.
Eric: I really like what he's doing with the Wizard EP of the Month. I really like that.
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