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Lasting impact

Eight years later, Harry and the Potters still makes the kids go nuts

Harry and the Potters PHOTO CREDIT: Erika Martin

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When he and his brother founded wizard-punk band Harry and the Potters in 2002, Paul DeGeorge never imagined the band would be paying his bills.

"I want to say I'm a professional wizard," says Paul, who'll be playing with brother Joe DeGeorge Saturday behind the Olympia Timberland Library. "We thought this would be a weird little side project. We never thought we'd be touring nationally and quitting day jobs."

While he is a fan of the books, Paul says the project was more whim than serious endeavor.

"I knew that people loved these books, but I had no idea there was such a fandom until people got interested in what we were doing and I started getting e-mails from all over the world," he says. "The books were coming out every couple of years, but people needed more. They wanted more ways to interact with the books.

"We were filling that gap, but at the time, it was just like, ‘Let's see if we can convince librarians to let us play in the library if we sing about Harry Potter.'"

Indeed, a previous Harry and the Potters show at the Olympia Timberland Library was one of the first musical events at the library, which has since hosted many after-hours concerts. "The success of that program made it clear that we should be having more of that type of event," says librarian Sara Peté.

And the Potters have continued to find a warm reception, even since the July 2007 publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the phenomenally popular series.

The final film of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, is due out next month, which perhaps explains the group's continued success. In nine years, the brothers have released three full-length albums, not to mention EPs and 7-inch vinyl offerings. They just came out with a live album recorded at the New York Public Library.

The current Harry and the Potters tour, continuing through July, has over 60 shows. Until recently, the Potters had been playing only about 40 dates a year.

"We didn't quite know what to expect going into the tour, but we've been seeing really enthusiastic crowds," Paul says. "Maybe it's simply because with the movie coming out, it's on people's minds again. But so far, it seems like Harry Potter has had a really lasting impact on a whole generation of people."

"We kind of expected things to slow down after the last book came out, because we were much more interested in the books than the movies," he says. "We were nervous about ‘Are people still going to care about what we do?' That's definitely not been the case."

Instead, it seems that Harry and friends are inspiring a new generation.

"The book series started a full 14 years ago," he says. "There are people who grew up reading Harry Potter who now have kids and are passing it along to their kids.

"We are seeing kids who are 5 and 6 and 7 at our shows and just starting to read Harry Potter, but they are way into it and are dressed in full wizard gear."

Harry and the Potters

Saturday, June 25, 6 p.m.; Free

On Ninth Avenue behind the Olympia Timberland Library, 313 Eighth Ave. SE, Olympia

360.352.0595 or or

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