by Bill Forman
That question is asked even more rarely today, thanks in large part to Roadside Jesus and his Periodic Table of Rockin'!
Unlike the above screenshot, the table itself is interactive: Click on any element in categories ranging from Alkalai Metal (e.g. Motorhead, Megadeath, Metallica) to Noble Gases (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Spinal Tap), and you'll find Roadside Jesus' perceptive takes on rock's many elemental forces.
Most of my favorite descriptions, though, can be found in the realm of Poor Metals and Non Metals. These include:
Hall & Oates:
My friend, I once witnessed a fight between the Hall and the Oates. The tempers flared, the punching & kicking commenced...things were said that can never be taken back. But I shed the tears when a bruised Hall turned to Oates and said four simple words, "I love you, Oates." The Oates hugged the Hall, and loved him back. My friend, the fight was over.
My friend, I don't know what to say about the Ratt. They're like the Van Halen minus all talent.
And, of course, The Police:
My friend, if I mailed the party invitations to each of these bands, while every band would definitely show up, the Sting would be the only one to have taken the time to RSVP.
It's also worth playing the creator's audio introduction, in which he sets forth certain precepts of the genre, such as, "An element of the rocking for me is the placement of the bandana ... All of these bands either wear a bandana or I wear a bandana when I'm listening to the band."
One caution: The Periodic Table of Rockin' was completed in 1987, right after Guns N' Roses released Appetite for Destruction. This explains why genres like nu metal, grunge and grindcore are conspicuously absent. Then again, none of them actually rock.