Overnight the music world was left in shock after it was revealed The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint had died, allegedly taking his own life at 49 years old. The news first broke and not much was known about how or why it had happened, however later in the evening, Keith’s fellow bandmate Liam Howlett alleged he had taken his own life via the band’s Instagram page stating:
“The news is true , I can’t believe I’m saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend , I’m shell shocked , fuckin angry , confused and heart broken ….. r.i.p brother Liam “
It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint. A true pioneer, innovator and legend. He will be forever missed.
We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time. pic.twitter.com/nQ3Ictjj7t
— The Prodigy (@the_prodigy) March 4, 2019
If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google…
The heavy music community reached out online sharing their own thoughts and anecdotal stories/experiences with The Prodigy icon:
Keith Flint you bloody legend.
The Prodigy were one of the first big bands we supported years ago and Keith single-handedly shattered my presumption that big stars would have an arrogance and aloofness about them. He was so welcoming, sweet and passionate. 💙
— Rou Reyno (@RouReynolds) March 4, 2019
Keith Flint. Respect. pic.twitter.com/YFKIjtFeYf
— Slipknot (@slipknot) March 4, 2019
RIP the incomparable Keith Flint. A true icon in every way. Thank you for the inspiration, music and friendship.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) March 4, 2019
— Crossfaith (@CrossfaithJapan) March 4, 2019
RIP Keith Flint, the original Firestarter🔥 pic.twitter.com/IB3g57Jc3n
— Cypress Hill ™ (@cypresshill) March 4, 2019
Trying hard today to pretend that I don’t feel really sad after hearing about the passings of both Keith Flint and Luke Perry.
— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) March 4, 2019
Some of our staff also had close-knit ties to the band, some extending well over two decades:
Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin, Writer (Perth) @KeepnTabs73
The Prodigy have long been an enigma in my musical journey. I was first introduced to the band via Triple J’s heyday in the early 90’s (yes, I’m old) on the back of the track, ‘Voodoo People’. I’d never heard anything like it. It was drum ‘n bass but it had that killer guitar riff. It wasn’t quite rock yet but it made a Pantera/Metallica/Sepultura devotee of the time seek out the album it originated from, Music for the Jilted Generation. Further songs, ‘Their Law’, ‘Poison’, ‘No Good’ reverberated with me and when another metal band of the time, Fear Factory dipped their toes into remixes with their EP, Fear is a Mindkiller, the black and white genres between metal/rock and dance music all of a sudden seemed a lot greyer. My first taste of seeing the band live was at the 1996 Big Day Out Festival at Perth Oval. Being honest, I was there for Rage Against the Machine but The Prodigy surprised me that day with their energy and I recall a distant memory of frontman Keith Flint bounding around the stage like a mad man egging the crowd on with crazed eyes equally as crazy hair and the crowd going off in return as much as they did for Rage Against the Machine. So dance music infused with guitars can actually create a mosh I thought…okay, I’m in.
Enter The Prodigy’s, The Fat of the Land album, released in 1997 and in particular the track, ‘Breathe’. A great album that was full of singles from the time that have become classics. ‘Firestarter’, ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, ‘Funky Shit’, ‘Mindfields’. The Prodigy returned to the following year’s Big Day Out, this time at Bassendean Oval and I caught more of them this time, ready for the craziness. They were crammed in between sets from Fear Factory, Soundgarden and The Offspring and in hindsight looking back it was probably the most enjoyable and nutso mosh pits I encountered at a Festival in the 90’s. Again, Keith Flint the highlight. Unpredictability in singers or front men or women in music often brings out the best in performances. You never what you might get. Flint was unpredictable, an entertainer. His looks galvanised different genres. His band blended music tastes and minds alike.
It would be 22 years until I saw The Prodigy live in concert again, just over a month ago at Perth’s RAC Arena. Our Editor of this website was dubious about The Prodigy being included in a review. They had previously played several shows in the proceeding years at Future Music Festival he said, but I begged and pleaded and eventually got him to trust me into writing something that could relate to Wall of Sound’s readers. What followed was a crazy night of mayhem. EDM into Industrial rock/metal, it was like nothing had changed bar a few more wrinkles in the previous 2o-odd years, Flint still as crazy and fit as he had been in my distant memory. Here’s my concluding paragraph to my review of what would be Flint’s final performance in Perth;
“The line between what is deemed ‘metal worthy’ or belongs on what festival is a lot more grey for this writer now after witnessing these legends parade their brand of drum ‘n bass mayhem. It’s a lot more industrial metal than what I thought it would be, but either way a great way to lose your mind for two hours and I encourage all ‘metalheads’ out there to take the plunge and get amongst the disorder because whilst The Prodigy are predominantly dance affiliated they are, in this writers eyes, ‘metal as fuck’”!
RIP Keith Flint.
Kim Anderson, Photographer/Writer (Perth) @stwwphoto
He was a huge inspiration to me when I was 18-19 and in art school (circa 1998). That was around the time he ditched the long hair for twin fins. The way he dressed, his hair especially, his whole persona fascinated me. It was around the time I discovered Marilyn Manson too so I guess a bit of a theme with guys who are very theatrical in a way. I did these series of paintings in my final year and one was (look I say based but there’s no denying it was Keith) which made the lecturers happy I finally had a “reason” behind my work…but they hated the paintings. They were really shit.
Dan Brixey, Writer (Gold Coast) @DanielJBrixey
It wasn’t so much that I was an old school Prodigy fan that upset me about Keith Flint’s death on Tuesday. I’d always liked them. The Fat Of The Land is one of the great albums of the nineties. It was heavy as fuck. ‘Smack My Bitch Up‘ is still one of my favourite songs with an amazing video to boot. Even Kerrang magazine rated TFOTL as the best metal record of 1997 (probably says a lot about the state of metal in the nineties).
The thing is, I’d lost touch with The Prodigy from that album onwards. Over the next 20 years, I didn’t pay them much mind. It was only recently, as my interest in electronic music has increased that I came back to The Prodigy. I was looking for dance music and electronic music that had an element of heavy about it (if you haven’t got into Author and Punisher yet, do it, a one-man doom metal band) and everything kept coming back to The Prodigy. So I started watching their live videos on YouTube and I was hooked again. Especially their new stuff such as ‘The Day Is My Enemy‘ and ‘Take Me To The Hospital‘. I was listening to them again on a daily basis and fell in love all over again. And then I heard that they were playing Brisbane in January. I saw Browny before that and said I would like to go, but I think that it might be too intense for me now. I’m 50. Everything hurts. I like to sit down at gigs now. My back and knees can’t take standing up at a heavy gig anymore. And two hours and 200bpm and at ear-shattering volume was probably too much for me.
Now, I wish I had. Because without Keith Flint, it just not quite The Prodigy. Like KISS without Ace Frehley, Pink Floyd without Roger Waters. It’s still good, but something will be missing.
And these are the things I’ve learned from Keith Flint’s unfortunate passing. Go see the shows you want to see because you may never see that artist ever again. Damnnit, forget about the aches and pains, forget about the cash, these people will give you an experience that cannot be replicated, even by some well-meaning tribute band.
That if you love something, it may come back to you and you’ll remember why you loved it in the first place.
And cherish the ones you love, because they might not be with you tomorrow.
Danny Clayton, ex-Channel [V] presenter
Big Day Out 2009. It wasn’t on camera. Just a small moment backstage. A shared beer and a brief, very polite conversation. That’s what I recall, he was so wild and passionate on stage but off stage, it was almost like he was an English gentleman. Like he had pushed out all of the aggression on stage.
Benji Alldridge, Writer/Photographer (Hobart)
Such was Keith Flint’s influence, still two and a half decades later, Music For the Jilted Generation and Fat of The Land both remain in regular rotation in my catalog. Keith and Liam Howlett proved time and again that electronic can be both punk as fuck and innovative.
— Benjamin B. Alldridge (@norks) March 4, 2019
Bec O’Reilly, Photographer (Gold Coast) @bec.belles
Way back in 2000 I lived in Sydney. The 2000 Olympics was an amazing time in the city. I was working for an airline at the time and I was given 2 passes to The Last Lap, a club for VIPs. The nightclub home in darling harbour had been converted into this amazing VIP venue. Every night they had a different band and that is the first time I saw The Prodigy. The venue was pretty empty cause it was early on in the games and a lot of athletes were still competing. Out burst The Prodigy in this tiny venue with probably 50 people into full fire full costume they let it rip. I literally stood no more than a metre away right in front watching the spectacle from prime position. It was amazing. ‘Firestarter‘ came on and the whole place seemingly erupted in flames almost touching the roof. I remember turning to my friend and saying “fucking hell I can’t believe it’s The fucking Prodigy!”
Special shout out to Jackson Darmody, one of our loyal readers for passing on his footage of one of Keith’s final shows, in Brisbane on their recent No Tourists Tour.
And one final story from the pub Keith used to own which has really resonated with a whole bunch of fans, friends and peers…
Keith Flint kept a swearbox above the fire in the pub he used to own (The Leather Bottle in Pleshey, Essex). Whenever he put the logs and kindling in and someone piped up with the obvious joke, he'd point to it and charge them a quid. RIP. pic.twitter.com/lEYZPXfrFj
— Steve Anglesey (@sanglesey) March 4, 2019
Rest In Peace Keith Flint
1969 – 2019
We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it again over and over, If you or anyone you know needs help with their own mental well-being call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or find your closest Suicide Prevention/Crisis Support Organisation on Google…