On March 4th 2019, the music world was shaken to its very core after hearing of the unexpected and tragic passing of The Prodigy’s frontman, Keith Flint. A larger than life personality on and off stage, it could be argued that Flint was the face of the Essex Rave outfit and it was easy to see why. With his trademark punk look, menacing smile and who could forget that lime green Mohawk, you could say that Flint’s look was just as iconic as Iron Maiden’s Eddie or Motorhead’s Snaggletooth – only Flint was human.
I can remember the first time I heard The Prodigy, I was eight years old and like all children back then, if you wanted to know who the big bands were, the latest musical trends, there was only one place to go and that was 7:30 Friday evenings on BBC1, Top of the Pops. I remember ‘Breath‘ becoming number one on that show and they played the music video. I was terrified! The music, the image, this certainly wasn’t the shiny bubblegum pop of the Spice Girls or All Saints I was used too! This was a different animal, or dare I say beast. That image left an impression on me, but an impression that would soon grow to love and cherish as one my favourite musical memories.
Tributes have poured since the news broke out and it only goes to show of the legacy Keith Flint helped create with Liam Howlett and Maxim. At a time when the British music scene in the 1990’s was awash with Britpop and not much else to write home about, The Prodigy came straight out of the gate with their signature brand of electronic music that made the music press stand and take notice, court controversy and attract a generation of various subcultures from rejected Goths to club kids to their musical bosom.
Their live shows, could have easily have been Liam Howlett behind a turntable for an hour like so many other DJ’s before and after him, but Prodigy shows were not that and they probably saw it as an insult to think just that. They were jaw dropping spectacles of live instruments and Flint pumping up the crowd as the ultimate hype-man, there was nothing quite like them live and left so many of their contemporaries in the dust and to revert back to the drawing board.
To put it simply, the mainstream wasn’t going to touch The Prodigy with a bargepole, so The Prodigy dragged the mainstream to them, kicking and screaming. I’m sorry for the pun here, but Flint was the twisted poster boy, scoring the soundtrack for jilted generations to come.
That is where The Prodigy succeeded. Sit back and think to yourself, how many musicians can you really count that not only succeed in their craft, but manage to bring together a plethora of fans across the music spectrum? Perhaps Bowie, Mercury or Lemmy could lay claim to that honour, but in all respected to those artists, that was the 1970’s. Music subcultures was but a tiny pond back then, especially compared to the 1990’s, it didn’t matter who you were, what artists you listened to, Keith Flint and his band of merry misfits were going to capture your attention.
Flint and Howlett were a complete package. Flint always admitting that Howlett was the brains behind The Prodigy and himself being the face. It was package that worked for almost 30 years and sadly, the end of an era nobody was ready nor wanted to say goodbye too. Keith Flint was a one in a million artist, I’ve been pitching this all day to anyone who would listen, but when you can turn a generation of rockers, Punks, Electro-Heads and Rude Boi’s onto your brand of music, whatever that may be, you’re damn right people are going to respect the shit out of you.
The music world is never going to be quite the same, knowing we are not going to hear that trademark South England punk snarl only Flint could muster.
We here at In Key Magazine would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Keith’s family and friends, artists like Flint are very hard to come by and we are sure that The Prodigy fan base will help keep his spirit alive through his music for years to come.
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