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Thursday, July 14, 2011

If Harry Potter Characters Had Bands: Twelve We'd Like To See

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM


If Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton's promise (which turned out to be a joke/hoax) to become a white rapper was just one more sad reminder of a series you used to love, we don't blame you -- but we would like to discourage you. Harry Potter, as I'm sure you will remember, is after all a little magical. And even though Felton's rap career ended before it began, it got us considering the options for the actual Harry Potter characters: What kind of band would each start? Because you can't just stare at that ticket to tonight's midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Final Hurrah, below is a list of the bands and side-projects that we like to think were cut from the books for purely space reasons.

Draco Malfoy: MC Dark Arts The best untalented underling rappers all have bodyguards to protect them. Thanks to Crabbe and Goyle, Malfoy has two. In a career turn about as unpredictable (and somehow as unsurprising) as his inability to firmly decide if he's a good dude or just fucking evil, the young white emcee channeled Eminem, was dissed in a verse by Eminem, got beaten up by Eminem, made a movie with Eminem and then released his first single, "Hair White as Me," which became a highly successful iTunes giveaway. His lyrical themes focus on the suburban plight that his more successful peers have found it difficult to tackle with rhythm: rich kid blues, Deatheater parents and the strange inability to find good house elf help anymore. Pitchfork gave his debut a 0.4. This was generous.

Harry Potter: The Orphans Shove it, Weezer -- or at least go find that Japanese girl already. Nerd rock has never had this much street cred. Although Harry's indie sentimentality has firmly allied him with the sad-rock mecca that is Saddle Creek (he is frequently seen barbecuing with Conor Oberst), it has done nothing for his lady problems: It's tough to write about them if you aren't constantly creating that fodder. His most widely popular release to date is a cover of The Lovin' Spoonful's "Magic" -- featuring Muggles Rivers Cuomo on melodica and Sting on tantric yoga -- an aggressively sappy take on the classic that was panned by critics and celebrated by the fans. With a stage presence that includes almost Morrissey-like antics, Potter has established himself as a whimsical, frequently shirtless frontman with a strange affinity for John Hughes movies, which he continues to quote at length during breaks between songs.

  • Doesn't sleep with people who don't own books.

Hermione Granger: Potion Zero This riot-grrrl revival was heard round the world, or at least in the garages that line it. Cerebral singer-songwriter (and outspoken Melissa Etheridge fan) Hermione Granger turned her petite back on the entire pantheon of Kate Bush second-comers with the announcement that she and Bikini Kill founder Kathleen Hanna had formed Potion Zero. After shrugging off the Sleater-Kinney idea of naming their group after a street (Diagon-Privet doesn't have the right vibe), the two exploited a brief lesbian fling to create their debut album, Girls Just Want to Read Books, a nihilist memoir on the gender divide that earned them rampant praise from those who can still play the tape in their 1990 Geo Prisms.

Ron and Ginny Weasley: The Waggling Weasleys So, Molly got tired of being flogged. In a musical dearth during which most of us are still trying to figure out just what the hell "Celtic punk" is, Weasley and his similarly red-headed cohorts revived the troublesome genre with a fervently ginger focus on the new millennium. The band's lyrics champion the magic of the Druids while embracing the Hogwarts education of its founders, brother-sister duo Ron and Ginny. The band's origin story begins with a fumbled attempt at Fiery Furnaces territory before the recruitment of additional red-headed musicians and the channeling of old-world Irish anger. (It should, however, be noted that neither of the founders are Irish. No one in the band is.) The group's popularity on the punk scene has also encouraged the sales of the chunky, madly hideous sweaters its members sport in a fashion move that has done more for the sweater in pop culture than even Bill Cosby.

Severus Snape: Mugglecide Although he has yet to burn down a church -- well, it has yet to be proven in court -- Snape was ushered into the black-metal ranks with the stunning world realization that his terrifying speaking voice is even more sinister when amped up a notch and stretched to be incomprehensible. Known as much for his fashion (all black) as he is for the (black) heart he injects into his lyrics, the reclusive frontman has resided in Norway for the seven years since the release of Mugglecide's first and only album to date and the strange deaths of the band's six other members. Although he has never cemented his relationship with Satan, he frequently touches on the subject in lyrics about "the Dark Arts" and "potions of evil." The spring of 2011 has been marked for the latest in his efforts to popularize black metal in pop culture through antithetical means: his own brand of absinthe, Love Potion No. 666.

Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange: We Will, We Will (F***ing) Kill You Man, what a couple of bitches. Stephen King called Dolores Umbridge the "greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter," and her obvious delight in torture makes us think she'd be a hit on the fetish/industrial scene. Bellatrix is one bloodthirsty beezy too, so in the Muggle terrorizing off-season, we picture them both in patent platform sword-heels and skintight dominatrix gear (baby pink kid leather for Umbridge, and blood-black Latex accessorized with razor blades for Bellatrix) fronting an industrial power electronics group like Whitehouse. Like in the early days of industrial, they'd incorporate sadomasochistic blood rites into their live show and make their audience swear allegiance to Voldemort -- anyone who declines gets Avada Kedavra'd on the spot.

  • Soooo saaaad he has to hoooold every vooweeeeel.

Dobby: My Polemical Romance Easily the Potter side project with the most consistent mass appeal, MPC started as a means for keyboardist and leader Dobby Da House Elf to try his tiny hand at another career. The band's aggressively emo leanings find a focal point in the songwriter's lyrics about self-loathing and a live routine that includes a generous amount of self-mutilation. The group's live shows, hailed by Alternative Press as "consistently unpredictable, like a Fall Out Boy show with more falling out," end only when Dobby has knocked himself unconscious, a feat which was once achieved during a particularly negative reaction to the band's opener, "Dobby Wants To Protect Harry Potter, Sir, And Has No Self-Esteem." The band is mocked in critical circles both for its general aesthetic and for its lyrical content, an uncluttered but abrasive take that skips on articles and pronouns and ignores the dictionary meanings of its words. (In a Rolling Stone feature, bassist Kreacher admitted none of the members know what "polemical" means.) In 2011, he received a Grammy for his seventh solo album (out on Saddle Creek), making him the most successful alien entertainer since Yoda.

Luna Lovegood: Sp▲rkle†raxxx (Luna and the Golden Snidgets) While in the wizarding world she's merely a weirdo, in the Muggle realm Luna Lovegood would be hailed as a hipster princess, especially if she tried her hand at recording music. Pitchforkians prove time and again that novelty of niche is more highly prized than actual talent, but we have no doubt that Luna's look, Quibbler pedigree and soporific speech patterns would lend her an Ariel Pink-esque authenticity in the indie new age. Utilizing a busted drum machine, a crystal powered phonograph, circuit bent electronics with wand control, and a scavenged 1928 Theremin gives her cred on her debut Moonglow Beetle Lamppost, and her Joanna Newsomish quivering warble and generally spooky air would make every music writer kick themselves for wasting the term "witch house" on Salem.

Hagrid: Big Beardy and the Shack Band When Willie Nelson finally died in 2072, his death left a huge void for a consistently stoned, aggressively bearded crooner to fill his musical shoes. Hagrid's feet just broke those shoes apart, which both ruined the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame relics and enthusiastically announced his entrance onto the British bluegrass scene and eventual Austin City Limits circuit. Although the frontman is too large to successfully play any instruments, he is backed by all of the remaining members of the band in O Brother Where Art Thou for a blistering mix of vintage bluegrass sensibility and drunken rambling about dragon eggs. Big Beardy and the Shack Band is scheduled to make its live debut at the Yule Ball during the next Triwizard Tournament, a show already tipped to exceed the popularity of the last band that played the gig: a super group that included members of both Pulp and Radiohead (Note: This actually happened.)

Fred and George Weasley: TwinnnzzzZzZ DJ duo TwinnnzzzZzZ established itself early on as an unpredictable and somewhat uncomfortable live show. Performances are consistently restricted to crowd sizes between five and ten people, and those who do get tickets to the duo's "experiments" (their preferred term for show) always come out smiling but often come out missing extremities. Following a particularly huge blow-out that featured both the Daft Punk pyramid and a dragon, the two announced a break from touring to replace Goblin more than 40 years later as Dario Argento's in-house horror soundtrack band.

Neville Longbottom: The Imposter One-man Elvis Costello cover bands are an unsurprisingly unlucrative niche to fill, which triggered Longbottom's recent casting as the house singer in the bar in How I Met Your Mother. His attention to the prolific bespectacled rocker's deep cuts and B-sides has earned him a fair amount of reproach from the show's more commercial creators, but it has earned a staid crowd of middle-aged hipsters and people who wear Warby Parkers.

Voldemort: The Artist Formerly Known As He Who Must Not Be Named Although the diva of evil took a bit of a nosedive with an overtly sexual half-time show at last year's Quidditch World Cup (the only live date he has ever been seen without his signature robe), his career has proven capable of considerable longevity. As a genre, pure evil is hard to beat, though the success of its addition to the pantheon has been severely diminished by recent rumors that its creator is bisexual. (In an interview with EW, which he insisted be conducted inside a phone booth, he said only, "Harry was the one.") Voldemort ended 2010 on a wealth of best-of lists as the direct result of an experimental album that featured no instrumentation, only him whispering, in falsetto, a series of vengeful and intimidating lyrics. Praised for its "daring entrepreneurship," the album sold two copies before being internationally banned and earned him an MTV Music Award for Scariest Motherfucker.

Additional creativity by Diana Benanti

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