1980 – 1983 (3 years)
New York, New York, United States
Liquid Liquid was a New York City band that was active from 1980 to 1983. Their music was essentially groove-based, influenced by funk, dub, and punk. Liquid Liquid's music did not easily fit into a genre, but it is often labeled post-punk or post-disco or no-wave. Arguments can be made for each genre (e.g., people who see Liquid Liquid as a no-wave band, often cite that Liquid Liquid did not follow standard song form, with their songs consisting entirely of bridges with no verses or choruses; and that like much of no-wave, Liquid Liquid's music emphasized texture over melody), and to further complicate matters, they were popular with downtown NYC crowds that retroactively fit within all three of the movements (post-punk, post-disco, no-wave) and played venues that housed music from all three genres as well–so more than anything, Liquid Liquid's music should probably be taken on its own merits.
While the band did not last for long (and they never got to release a full-length LP), their influence was deeply felt within dance music and hip-hop, because like their labelmates ESG, Liquid Liquid's music has been sampled heavily over the years. Most infamously, Liquid Liquid's song, "Cavern," from their Optimo EP, was used (without permission) as the basis for Melle Mel's (the lead rapper and main songwriter for Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five) "White Lines (Don't Do It)" which became a hit in 1983 (when originally released, the record was credited to Grandmaster + Melle Mel. This was done to mislead the public into believing that Grandmaster Flash participated on the record, when in fact he played no part in it and had already left the Sugar Hill Records label the previous year). The following legal battle over the "borrowed" bassline and certain lyrical snippets used, bankrupted both 99 Records (Liquid Liquid's home) and Sugarhill Records (Melle Mel's home), and Liquid Liquid called it quits that same year.
Dennis Young (marimba) is still active and producing music. Richard McGuire (bassist) is a graphic designer with frequent contributions to both The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times Book Review. Salvatore Principato (vocals) is active in various electronic music recording projects, as well as DJ-ing professionally at clubs internationally. Liquid Liquid reformed in 2008 to play live venues and shows, but as of yet has not released any new material.
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