Fall Tour Recap, Winter Plans!

Hey folks!

A very quick recap of fall tour: We raised $2,313 for Friends of Esther and the This Star Won’t Go Out Foundation. Our goal was to raise $500. The generosity, sincerity, and enthusiasm displayed by wizard rock fans across the country was something I can’t adequately describe, but I can simply point you to that number if you need any demonstration. THANK YOU to all the fans who contributed! You lovely young wizards and witches are the reason I get up in the morning. I love you guys!

Not gonna lie: I’m looking forward to a few months off from touring, but I’ve got a LOT planned between now and April. Here’s a quick run-down:

Read more »

Fall Tour Mixtape Contest!

It seems like forever since I had a contest! This fall, I’ve teamed up with Lauren and Justin to create something really fun and interactive and educational (for us, anyway). Long story short: If you’re coming to a show this fall, make us a mixtape (in CD form) and give it to us at the show! We’ll listen to all submissions while we drive around the country, and the best mix will earn one lucky winner a variety of kick-ass prizes, as further described in this video:

Love,
Matt

Frequently Asked Questions About House Party Shows

Every fall since 2007, I’ve embarked on something that many of my wizardly colleagues feel is superfluous and/or risky: Fall Tour. While summer tours bring the promise of big crowds and successful shows, fall tours involve scary things like school nights and cold weather. Fall tours also involve increasing the frequency with which you play in certain cities, resulting in the fairly difficult task of convincing a financially-strapped public library to host you multiple times in a year. Some libraries have the budget and the staff to handle several wizard rock shows a year, but most of them are really only interested in hosting one big event during the summer.

So, every fall since 2007, I’ve accepted the inevitability of finding alternative venues for shows. Wizard rock is a tough sell for many clubs, and awesome DIY spaces like churches and community centers are relatively hard to find. And that’s why we occasionally resort to house party shows.

Personally, I love house party shows. Depending on the house and the group of attendees, house shows range from small, intimate gatherings to all-out dance parties, and all potential scenarios have their advantages. Some houses are so much fun that we actually prefer them to the local library. Regardless, there are some fans who just don’t feel comfortable attending a show at a stranger’s house, and we totally get that. This blog is an attempt to provide some reassurance for anyone who feels unsure about attending one of our house shows this fall.

Here are some questions and answers!
Read more »

500!

Hey folks!

It’s confirmed: My 500th wizard rock show will take place on the same stage as the first* Whomping Willows show! The Yule Ball in Cambridge MA is probably the show I look forward to most every year, for a variety of reasons: 1) Harry and the Potters always bring their best to this event, and their best is THE BEST SHOW IN WIZARD ROCK. 2) The Yule Ball at the Middle East has an atmosphere that is unmatched by any other wizard rock show. This is partly because the bands and their friends spend hours decorating just about every inch of the club with holiday cheer, and partly because the Middle East downstairs is one of the coolest rooms in the country to play a show. But there’s also a certain tradition that has developed over the years — Draco and the Malfoys providing the ultimate evil foil to the Potters’ unbridled enthusiasm and positivity, Jason Anderson rocking the wizards with his fantastic live band, and — of course — those oddball bands Paul always manages to track down (like the LeeVees, a Hanukkah-themed band that joined us in 2008). In short, I am very lucky to have been a part of every Yule Ball since the first one, and there is no place I’d rather play my 500th show than the 6th Annual Yule Ball in Cambridge on Sunday, December 19!

But wait! There’s more!

Read more »

Fall Tour Schedule!

Hey folks!

As usual, Justin, Lauren, and I been receiving questions from lots of fans about where we’ll be playing this fall. Thank you for your interest! We have a pretty crazy schedule, mostly due to the fact that we 1) want to play some shows on the west coast and 2) are booked to play an amazing event on November 5 and 6: the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention. Our schedule is built on the wacky premise that we’ll be getting to the west coast and back to Memphis between October 13 and November 5. Unfortunately, this results in a few cities being skipped — but seriously, we’re the most prolific tourers in wizard rock, so we don’t feel bad about it. If we’re missing you this time around, we’ll see you soon!

I’ve been booking shows like a crazy person over the last few weeks, and — we’re facing the same challenge we’ve faced over the last year or so: libraries with little to no budget. About half the tour is booked; another 15 to 20% is very close to being booked. That leaves a good number of dates that are looking at least a little grim. We need help! If you live in a city that’s not booked yet and you have an idea for a venue (your house qualifies as a potential venue!), please email me at thewhompingwillows@gmail.com!

Here’s the schedule! Please note that specifics will be provided in the next week or so! Keep checking the tour page on this website for more details.

Read more »

Fall Tour T-Shirt Preview!

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

If you follow me on twitter, you may have already seen a preview of my fall tour t-shirt! Here it is:

You might be wondering why the hell I’m making a shirt with an emblematic eagle in Hufflepuff colors. Honestly, I’m really not sure why, except that I find expressions of extreme patriotism amusing and there’s nothing more patriotic than a majestic eagle perched on a tree branch, spreading its wings and turning its head to one side. Am I right? Whateva.

I love this shirt. That’s the bottom line.

Now, here’s the deal. Gold on black is what I think looks best for this shirt. But I could be wrong. If you have any suggestions for alternate color schemes, please feel free to suggest them in the comments! I would love to get your input.

By the way, this design was created by Michael Hays. You can check out more of his work by clicking here.

Fall tour begins October 13 and it’ll last for about a month! More details are coming soon. In the mean time, you are probably aware that the third Hunger Games book is coming out on TUESDAY. I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!! AGGHHHH!!!!! *deep breath* Lauren and I have this side project called Armoured Bearcub, and we have a song about Katniss and Peeta! You should check it out by clicking this link!

That’s it for now!

Love,
Matt

Welcome to the new and improved Whomping Willows website!

What up, wizards?

I’m very excited to introduce the brand-new Whomping Willows website! This has been a work in progress for over a year, with various attempts and as many failures. Finally, it’s here!

I’ve completely revamped my online store and I think it looks pretty rad. In addition, I’ve written a pretty lengthy and honest bio that focuses on the story behind this band’s creation. I’ve also created a fun FAQ page with a few serious questions and a lot of silly questions that I’ve received via twitter.

Please take a moment to look around the site, and stay tuned for more frequent updates and blogs and awesome merch sales!

I’d like to thank Lauren Fairweather for her incredible contributions to this site’s layout, Richard Grooms for help with hosting, and Frankie Franco III for the original artwork featured on this page!

Love,
Matt