Rock ‘n’ Roll Family Tree


A number of years ago, I created a web page called “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Family Tree”. It was a static page of bands and musicians that linked them all, i.e. a musician that was in two bands linked those two bands. If another musician in one of those bands was also in a third band, then that band was linked as well, and so on. A band was only considered linked if a member of that band was also a member of another band — things like guest appearances, one-off duets, session work, and things like that didn’t count. Eventually, I had well over 100 bands linked, including everyone from Black Sabbath to Culture Club to Foreigner to Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Unfortunately, I’ve since lost the original list, but I’ve
been toying with the idea of re-creating it. Of course, I’d do it in PHP now, with
a backing database. I’d love to use SQL Anywhere (the database product I work on)
as the backing store, but very few web hosting companies (if any) offer SQL
Anywhere support (mine does not), and I am not willing to host the site myself on
my own home machine. I’d also love to add a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-type
thing where you could enter two musicians or bands and display
the links between them, but that’s a lot more work. For example, to get from
Whitesnake to Metallica, you could do this:

  • Steve Vai was in Whitesnake
  • Rudy Sarzo was in Whitesnake with Steve Vai
  • Rudy Sarzo was also in Quiet Riot with Randy Rhoads
  • Randy Rhoads played with Ozzy Osbourne
  • Mike Trujillo also played with Ozzy Osbourne
  • Mike Trujillo is now in Metallica

In many cases, there are multiple ways to get from one band to another —
Steve Vai also played with David Lee Roth, as did a guitarist named Jason Becker.
Becker was previously in a band called Cacophony with Marty Friedman, who later
joined Megadeth with Dave Mustaine, and Mustaine used to be in Metallica.

Just for completeness, Steve Vai appeared in a movie in 2006 called
Crazy, with Chris Ellis, who was also in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon. And
Kevin Bacon is also a musician, having recorded an album or two with his brother,
so maybe he’ll make this list too.

Aw, crap. I just found bandtoband.com,
which is exactly what I described above. They took my idea and ran with it.
(Though I suppose it’s possible that they simply had the same idea, and
didn’t steal it from me.) They have almost 7,000 bands in their database, so I
suppose there’s no reason for me to do it.

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