Getting to Know Liquid Liquid

Posted: September 14, 2014 in Band Profiles, Post-Punk
Tags: , , ,

Liquid Liquid is responsible for arguably the most well-known bass line and sampling in hip hop history. Their most recognized song, “Cavern,” was used as the backing track to Grandmaster Mell Mel’s 1983 single “White Lines (Don’t Do It).” (The lawsuit from the unauthorized sampling ultimately resulted in the downfall of both bands’ record labels). The song has been sampled and referenced by a diverse range of artists, such as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Moby, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, and De La Soul. It was also featured prominently in the film 25th Hour (2002) and more recently in the movie Chef (2014).

It’s quite a legacy for a band that only produced actively from 1980 to 1983, releasing just three EPs. They are labeled as a post-punk, post-disco band but have influences of reggae and funk. Liquid Liquid formed in New York in the late ‘70s as Liquid Idiot with a more punk sound. Their sound changed over the years to being more groove-based with their intention of getting people to “want to move.” The band reunited in 2008 and made an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show in 2010. For LCD Soundsystem’s 2011 farewell show, they invited the band to be the opening act, stating that Liquid Liquid was their greatest influence and “heroes.”

“Cavern” is a single off of their third EP, Optimo, released in 1983.


The single “Optimo” is another release from the EP of the same name. Another heavy percussion, groove-based track.


  1. Adam says:

    How long ago was the lawsuit relating to the sampling issue? I wonder if it was pre-Napster?


  2. cgarciashaw says:

    Yes, it was pre-Napster. From what I can find, the lawsuit was filed not long after the 1983 release of “White Lines” and was ongoing for 12 years. Liquid Liquid prevailed but Sugar Hill Records was already in bankruptcy.


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