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The Rules

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Prime Directive

It is the intent of this website to include as many unique bands as possible into our family tree. While the concept may be simple there are some very strict guidelines that govern a band's eligibility to join the party.

Conjunction Junction

Two bands connect to one another if they both share a band member.
A band member is defined as an individual who intentionally joined the collective whole of the band and whose association can be documented by the member's audible participation on an official band recording.
An official recording is defined as a production of a unique artistic performance released publicly under the band's name or featured on a compilation.
Bands whose name is also the full name of a member are considered solo artists and are treated as single member bands.
Bands changing names or reforming under a different name result in two distinct bands.
Bands collaborating together do not count as sharing members.
Supergroups and jam bands are represented only by their core membership.

Rule 2: Who's Who?

For our purposes the documentation of a member and their relationship with a band comes in the form of the artist's audible participation on a band's recording. We offer these clarifications as to meaning of a band member's participation.

A band member is defined as an individual who intentionally joined the collective whole of the band and whose association can be documented by the member's audible participation on an official band recording.
A member need not have played on an entire recording, so long as the artist was a recognized member of the band at the time and is credited for participation on a release.
In the case where two members performed the same duties on a recording, one member for one part of the recording, the other member for other part, the members are credited to different line-ups for the release as they were not in the band at the same time.
Example: The Jealous Sound's "Kill Them With Kindness" was recorded with two different drummers.
Anyone who is associated with the recording but is not a member of the band such as studio musicians, guest appearances, producers, and managers are not considered band members.
Automated instruments such as drum machines are not considered members even if credited as such.
Example: Centinex credited drum machine, "Kalimaa," is not included.

Rule 3: I Know It When I See It

An official band recording must adhere to the standard of being an artistic performance.

An official recording is defined as a production of a unique artistic performance released publicly under the band's name or featured on a compilation.
We accept as legitimate artistic performances materials such as musical, spoken word, and comedy recordings.
When an official band recording may not clearly meet the standard of an artistic performance we reserve the right to judge each release on a case by case basis under the standard set by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart:
Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964) (Stewart, J., concurring): "I know it when I see it."

Rule 4: What's In A Name

There are certain circumstances revolving around solo artists which require clarifications.

Bands whose name is also the full name of a member are considered solo artists and are treated as single member bands.
Exceptions to Rule 4 will be allowed only if a band's history clearly indicates it to be the case.
Example: Brinsley Schwarz is a band, not a solo artist.
While full names denote a solo artists, we consider a group of musicians a band if they perform under a subset of a single member's name.
Example: Example: Glenn Danzig is a solo artist, Danzig is a band.
Subsets of a single member's name, along with well established stage names, in certain cases are still considered solo artists.
Example: Madonna, Eno, and Moby are all solo artists.
A nickname or stage name may count as a band if its use identifies the collective whole of the band to the same degree as the individual to whom the nickname is assigned.
Example: CIV is a band. Civ is also the nickname for the singer of CIV.
A band name may contain the full name of an individual member so long as there are additional words contained therein.
Example: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Paul Di'anno's Battlezone.

Rule 4f: The Cooper Effect

There is a very special situation pertaining to the use of a stage name as a band name and whether that name counts as a solo artist or as a band name. This sticky situation is particularly apparent in the case of Alice Cooper. The individual Alice Cooper, born Vincent Furnier, assumed the stage name Alice Cooper in 1968 and at the same time formed a band under the same name. This would clearly fall under Rule 4(d) as both the individual as well as the band were recognized to the same degree by the same name. However in 1974 the band Alice Cooper disbanded and Vincent Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper. From this point on Alice Cooper was no longer a stage name and therefore we must then regard all further releases by Alice Cooper as releases by the solo artist, not the band. To that end releases included in our family tree under the name of Alice Cooper containing more members than Cooper himself are only those releases recorded by the band Alice Cooper before the 1974 name rearrangement.

Rule 5: Changing Room

The following criteria determine whether a name change results in a new band entry.
Trivial changes in a band name are not considered two distinct bands. "Trivial" is considered on a case by case basis but normally does not extend past punctuation changes, alternate numerical spellings, interchangeable conjunctions, or the use of an article.
Example: Electric Light Orchestra Part Two is not distinct from Electric Light Orchestra Part II.
Example: Thin Lizzie is distinct from Thin Lizzy.
Example: Jackson Five is not distinct from the alternate numerical spelling Jackson 5ive.
Band names changed in a foreign market do not result in two distinct bands.
Example: The UK band Yazoo appears as Yaz in the US. Only Yazoo is recognized.
When an album is re-released under a different band name in the home market, the album is credited to both bands.
Example: Dinosaur's "s/t" was later released as "Dinosaur" under the band name Dinosaur Jr.
When a recording is re-released under a different band name in the home market and the original material or the re-release is credited to a solo artist, Rule 4, mandating that the solo artist be considered a single member band, will be enforced despite leading to the possible inconsistency of different line-ups for identical recordings.
Example: Janis Joplin solo material was later credited to the Full Tilt Boogie Band, both are included but with different line-ups.
A band's material will be eligible for inclusion if it is found on a release by a different band so long as that material is credited to the original band on a per track level.
Example: Wicked Lester appears on Kiss' "The Box Set."

Rule 6: With Or Without You

In order to discern between two bands collaborating and a band whose name creates the appearance of a collaboration we adhere to the following guidelines.

Bands collaborating together do not count as sharing members.
A collaboration is defined as two independent parties performing in conjunction and whose subsequent recorded material is released under the billing of their current band names joined by a collaboration keyword such as "And."
Example: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver is considered a collaboration between independent bands.
Independent parties within a collaboration are defined as bands who have released material independently of one another prior to the release of the collaborative effort.
Example: Slayer & Ice-T is a collaboration as both parties had released material independently of one another prior to their work together.
Example: Neil Young & Crazy Horse is not considered a collaboration as Crazy Horse had not released prior independent material.
If all parties of a potential collaboration had released prior independent material, we still do not consider it a collaboration if one party of the collaboration was a member of the other party prior to billing change.
Example: Bob Marley & The Wailers is not a collaboration as Bob Marley was a member of the Wailers prior to the billing change.

Rule 7: To The Core

Supergroups, charity or otherwise, and jam bands are by nature populated with guest musicians yet still deserve our attention. To properly document these bands we handle them on a case by case basis and apply the following parameters.

Supergroups and jam bands are represented only by their core membership.
Core membership is determined by identifying the founders and organizers of a band.
Example: Band Aid was the work of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.

Formatting: What You See Is What You Get

There are numerous issues regarding the proper crediting and formatting of bands' and artists' names. We will first establish the What You See Is What You Get paradigm of name formatting with The "The" Rule which will then be expanded upon to address various other situations that may arise.

The "The"

...and we're not talking about the band. A point of contention is the use of the word "The" in a band name. Why is the word "The" included in some band names but not others? Why is "The Haunted" listed as such but the "Rolling Stones" fails to carry the "The"? For our purposes we cannot arbitrarily include or exclude "The" and instead must defer to how the band itself uses its own name. In order to do so we refer to the one place where the band's use of their name is readily available for all to study, the band's album artwork. With that as our guide we formulate the following set of rules:

We include the word "The" in a band's name if the band uses it intentionally along with the other words in their name on their album artwork.
We do not include the word "The" in a band's name if on any piece official album artwork "The" fails to appear regardless of its appearance on any other piece of artwork. If "The" ever fails to appear we no longer accept it as part of the band's name.
This rule does not apply to band names appearing on multi-band compilations, splits, or shared releases.

As an example of our first rule let's take a look that the artwork for The Haunted whom we have already mentioned:

As we can see in every instance the "The" is displayed as prominently on the artwork as the word "Haunted" and therefore it can be inferred that the band feels that "The" is an integral part of the band's name. On the other hand if the reverse ever occurs, where the band fails to include the word "The" in their artwork it can be inferred that the band does not feel "The" is an integral part of their name and therefore is not included in our band listing. To demonstrate our second rule let us refer to our other example, the Rolling Stones:

On the first two albums, "s/t" and "Some Girls," "The" appears prominently on the artwork and is in compliance with Rule 1 above, however with "Let It Bleed" and "Forty Licks" it is no longer present which comes under the domain of Rule 2 and therefore "The" is dropped from our nomenclature. If you are still not convinced, think of it this way. At no point, ever, would the band Septic Death fail to include the word "Septic" or "Death" on any of their album's artwork. To do so would irrevocably alter the band's name. Therefore if a band takes the liberty to ever drop "The" from their name then obviously it is not an important enough piece of the band to include here.

Capital Punishment

What do we do when we are confronted with a band or album whose name appears in all capital letters, all lowercase, or a mix thereof? How are names and titles that do not follow standard grammatical formatting represented in the database? Glad you asked.

By default all band names are presented with the first character in each word capitalized as per standard grammatical conventions.
Acronymic band names without the implied punctuation are still represented in full capitalization.
Example: OSI, RDK, and RAVAGE are represented in capital letters.
Bands who make a conscious effort to use an alternate capitalization structure outside of the realm of graphic stylization will have that structure reflected in our family tree so long as its use is consistent with The "The" Rules above.
Example: fIREHOSE, ProjeKct Two, and theSTART all qualify as consistent alternate capitalization structures.
Example: Metallica does not appear as MetallicA as the trailing 'A' is merely a graphic stylization in the band's logo.
Example: Firehouse does not appear as FireHouse because the capitalization scheme is not consistent across all of the band's artwork.
The use of all capital letters, all lower case letters, or headline style does not constitute an alternate capitalization scheme and the band names are formatted according to the first Rule presented here.
Alternate capitalization schemes are not honored in album titles, except to represent a band name that is consistently rendered in an alternate scheme.

Punctuation Fluctuation

We often encounter bands whose names contain punctuation marks or characters outside of the standard English alphabet. We make an effort to reflect these foreign characters and punctuation marks as often as possible so long as they fall within the following guidelines:

Foreign characters, defined as those letters not a part of the 26 found in the English alphabet, are allowed so long as we have the capacity to reflect them.
Punctuation characters are allowed in a band's name so long as they appear in the band's artwork in accordance with The "The" Rules above.
Example: Hose.Got.Cable's artwork reflects the use of the periods in the band name.
Diacritical characters for both band and artist names are standardized upon in accordance with The "The" Rules applied to releases originating in the home market.

Title Waive

In the case where the prior naming conventions come in conflict in regards to a band name, we do not default to a name that was never used. Instead we use the most common name available. In the case where there is not a clear majority we default to the first usage.

Example: The Guess Who appeared as Guess Who? The combination of name changes results in Guess Who, a name never used by the band. We default to the more common The Guess Who.
Example: The Three City Four also appeared as 3 City 4. Without a clear majority usage we standardize on the first.

I've Been Framed

Framing characters appear frequently in band names and album titles. How those characters are handled are discussed here.

All punctuation characters appearing in an album's title are reflected whenever possible.
Example: Gettin' Pretty Good... At Barely Gettin' By...
Album sub-titles are included in the full title and are separated by the · character.
Example: Highlander II · The Quickening
Character strings mirrored on either side of an album's title are not included.
Example: ...Can't Dance,, Too Wet To Plow... has the framing characters "..." removed.
Character strings mirrored on either side of a band's name are included but are ignored in the application of Capital Punishment.
Example: xLOOKING FORWARDx is rendered as xLooking Forwardx.

More Equal

All band names are created equal, but some band names are more equal than others. A single release by a band may contain more than one version of the band's name that isn't covered under the "trivial" clause in Rule 5(a).

When conflicting crediting on an album's physical media causes band name equivocation, we reserve the right to assign the proper band name based upon the weight of the evidence.
Example: Danny Morris' "The Golden Prize" is also credited to Danny Morris Band. We assign the album to Danny Morris exclusively.


Artist name standardization is a necessary element in tracking an artist throughout their career as name stylizations such as the diminutive form of common first names, the prevalent use of a middle name, or the use of initials appear in varying degrees in album credits. We create a universal standardization for artist names in the following manner.

All artist names are standardized by the use of an artist's forename along with a last name.
A forename is either the first name of an artist or a middle name if that name is always used.
Example: Paul McCartney's full name is James Paul McCartney but is standardized on the middle name of Paul as James has never been used.
In the case of interchanged forenames by an artist, we standardize upon the forename first used by the artist.
Multiple forenames may be used as the name standard so long as all forenames appear in the relevant credits subject to The "The" Rules above.
We standardize on the diminutive rendering of a forename so long as the diminutive form is used consistently throughout the artist's career consistent with The "The" Rules above.
Example: Mike Oldfield is credited as such on the vast majority of is work however his occasional use of Michael Oldfield sets the name standard as the full Michael.
Example: Les Grey is an accepted diminutive standard for the artist Thomas Lesley Grey.
Example: Buzz Feiten is not an accepted standard for the artist Howard Feiten as Buzz is not a diminutive form of Howard.
If an artist's forename only ever appears as a diminutive, in the case where two or more different diminutive forms are used we expand to the full rendering of the forename to resolve the standardization conflict.
Initials representing every forename of an artist are not accepted diminutive forms of forenames as the full names they represent are not colloquially intuitive.
Example: O.P. Moore does not intuitively represent the artist Chris Moore.
Example: Andy M. Stewart is an accepted standardization.
Example: T. Lavitz is not accepted.
Legal name changes by individual artists are applied to all the artist's releases so long as the artist released material after adopting the new legal name.
Example: Share Pederson of Vixen became Share Ross of Bubble. She is listed as Share Ross in both bands.
Example: Jermaine Jackson became Muhammad Abdul-Aziz but the name change is not reflected here as he has not released material since adopting the new legal name.

Three Ring(o) Circus

Artist name standardization is an important element in tracking musicians but the use of aliases can be equally important for artists who perform under pseudonyms throughout their careers. We incorporate the following rules which dictate the application of career aliases.

If an artist uses an alias, or diminuitive form thereof on every release for a band, any releases by said band that do not contain credits has the implied usage of the alias.
Example: Ringo / Ringo Starr is the implied alias used by Richard Starkey of the Beatles on all Beatles releases.
If an artist establishes an alias in accordance with (1) in band A and continues on to band B where he fails to use the alias in a particular album's credits he loses the implied alias for all band B releases that do not carry credits. The "The" loss of the alias only applies to band B.
If an artist establishes an alias in accordance with (1) in band A and continues on to band B in which no band B releases contain credits, third party sources should be reviewed to determine whether the established alias is implied on the band B releases. The alias is available for the implied usage until a the "The" violation occurs in band B that forces the loss of the alias.

Swingin' Singles

It is often difficult to distinguish a title for a release if no cover artwork is available or the artwork available does not lend support to the search. In these cases the following steps are taken to determine an appropriate album title.

An album whose title, whether apparent or inferred, matches the band name is listed as "s/t" signifying "self-titled."
An album with no distinguishable title and containing a single song on the first side of the release's physical medium of any format is given that song title as the album name.
An album with multiple song titles listed on the front cover artwork is given the title of the first song listed.

Once Is Never Enough

We only include the 1st pressing artwork for an album but what do we do about an album which features different line-ups based on different formats? When should a re-issue be added as a new album? Wonderful questions over which we've spent considerable time pondering. Here are the standards we apply to these situations:

When an album is released on two different formats (CD and LP) where one format contains extra, previously released tracks featuring a different line-up, we list the album once with the single line-up found on the album as the extra songs are just a bonus to the real album.
Example: The CD of Judge's "Bringin' It Down" contains the band's first 7" while LP does not, therefore the entry for the album does not reflect the different line-ups.
When an album is released on two different formats (CD and LP) where one format contains extra, previously unreleased tracks featuring a different line-up, we list the album once using the format with the extra line-ups.
Example: The Undead "Live Slayer" LP has an extra line-up not included on the CD, therefore the entry for the album includes both LP line-ups.
When an album is re-released with otherwise unavailable extra tracks that feature a different line-up from the original tracks both versions are included and the various line-ups are reflected.
An album containing two or more previously available releases as well as additional material from the same band is considered a distinct release.
Example: Autoclave's "s/t" is re-released with enough additional material to be considered a distinct release.

Split Decision

Many albums contain distinct recordings from individual bands with equal billing. These albums are classified in the following ways:

A release containing recorded material from two bands is considered either a split or a shared release.
A split release is an album containing recorded material from two bands as well as album artwork, the existence of which implies both bands had prior knowledge of the nature of the release.
A split release is titled as the global title found in the album artwork or, if no global title is available, as the name of the other band.
Example: Shai Hulud / Another Victim "A Whole New Level Of Sickness" split
Example: Faith / Void split
A shared release is an album containing recorded material from two bands and lacking album artwork, the absence of which implies neither band had prior knowledge of the nature of the release.
Example: Charlie Parker Septet "Bird Lore" / Sonny Berman's Big Eight "Curbstone Scuffle" shared release
An album containing recorded material from more than two bands is considered a multi-band compiliation.
Mapping the Rock 'N Roll genome since 2005