The below preview is the entire page titled "What is Wizard Rock?" It is designed to provide a basis of understanding of the genre for outsiders and (hopefully) a modicum of pride for insiders.
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What is Wizard Rock?
Wizard Rock is, at its core, music about Harry Potter. This does not mean every song is solely about the boy wizard (not to deny that a decent amount of them are), but rather that the musicians involved in the movement write songs inspired by the characters, events, and themes found in the book series. Just as a "Muggle" music (as some of us Wrock fans refer to non-Wizard Rock) is inspired by everyday happenings, emotions, and situations, Wizard Rock is inspired by the same things, but with a focus on them as seen within a specific book series.
A Brief History of Wrock
It is widely accepted that the first Wizard Rock song was 'Ode to Harry' in 2000 by the band Switchblade Kittens that was later put onto their album The Weird Sisters. While I agree that this was one of the very first songs about Harry Potter (and certainly the first one to be widely distributed), I peg the beginnings of Wizard Rock taking place approximately a year later with the advent of Harry and the Potters.
"But wasn't it the first big song about good ol' HP?" you may be asking yourself, "I thought you said Wizard Rock was music about him?" Yes, but it's not quite so simple as that, as you'll see discussed in the section below on what seperates Wizard Rock from other music scenes.
Paul and Joe DeGeorge, also known as Harry and the Potters, started making music about Harry Potter by a happy accident of last minute cancellations from bands slated to play in their backyard. I'm sure it was stressful at the time, but I call it a happy accident because those bands cancelling essentially created a new musical genre.
The Potters started touring and telling anyone and everyone to start their own bands about Harry Potter as well. To their surprise and great joy... many of their fans did begin creating bands after listening to their music. Some of the first bands were Draco and the Malfoys, The Whomping Willows, and The Parselmouths.
Over the intervening years, nearly 700 Wizard Rock bands have popped into existence, some of which have stuck around and released extensive discographies (Catchlove and Ministry of Magic stand out in my mind at the moment), and some of which have released no more than a single song and left the band behind entirely after that.
If you'd like to read a more complete history, check out the History of Wrock posted on the Wizrocklopedia. Or better yet, order yourself a copy of the Wizard Rockumentary and watch with an open mind!
What Makes Wizard Rock Stand Out From Other Music Scenes?
While it all started as a single band, Harry and the Potters, one of the key ingredients to Wizard Rock is the community element. There's a reason I refer to it as the Wizard Rock Community in discussion (whether with newcomers to the idea of Wrock or to veterans of the community). Wizard Rock, by and at large, is very Do-It-Yourself. Most bands write their music, record, master, burn to CD, design and create album art, and anything else in the long "To Do" list of making an album all by themselves or with the help of friends. It's not unheard of to have music professionally mastered or to send an album out to be professionally manufactured when demand is particularly high, but that does not negate the creative process that the Wizard Rocker goes through prior to that point in production.
But that's not all, folks! Wizard Rock has this amazing tendency to support various charities and non-profits through touring, charity compilations, and general fund raising. The Whomping Willows' Matt Maggiacomo is one of the forerunners in charity fund raising, having raised money for disaster relief in Haiti and for the Harry Potter Alliance, among other charities. Also on the map for their extensive work are Paul and Joe DeGeorge (Harry and the Potters), Stephanie Anderson (Tonks and the Aurors), and Jarrod Perkins (Gred and Forge), among many others.
One charity that has received upwards of $15,000 over the years from various fund raising (including the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club run by Paul DeGeorge) has been First Book, an organization promoting literacy by providing books to children in need. In this regard, they share an important feature of the Wizard Rock Community: the promotion and spread of literacy. As is made pretty obvious, the entire Wizard Rock genre is inspired by a book series. All of us Wizard Rockers and Wizard Rock fans are also fans of this spectacular book series that inspired us to make music, love each other, and share our passions with complete strangers with similar interests. We want more than just our music to spread, we want a love of reading to spread to those around us and those listening to this music.
This is what makes Wizard Rock stand out: We aren't in the general mainstream, we don't have competition among bands, our musicians have a very DIY and independent attitude toward their music, and the Community at large has a major focus on spreading literacy and supporting non-profit organizations.
All I can say to this is: Awesome!
Where Can I Learn More About Wizard Rock?
The very best way to learn more about Wizard Rock is to explore it for yourself. My favorite way to do this is to find the myspace page of any Wrock band and to start looking at their friends list. There, you'll see a ton of other Wizard Rock bands. Just keep clicking around and listening to more music! You never know what you'll come across!
If you don't have the time to spend clicking around, feel free to peruse the Wizrocklopedia for a list of as many Wrock bands as have been located so far and news updates on what is going on in Wizard Rock. Alternatively, you can check out Real Wizard Rock for a seriously awesome selection of Wizard Rock lyrics from many of the genre's biggest (and some lesser known) bands.
And if all of this sounds like too much work, just sign up for the EP of the Month Club for a mere $60 (the entire profits of which go to benefit a non-profit organization). You will receive a total of 12 EPs over the course of the year, sent out quarterly. That's only $5 per disc! And you'll get a seriously rad selection of Wizard Rock to listen to!