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Live business mourns the Prodigy’s Keith Flint

The passing of "a true pioneer, innovator and a legend" brings to an end a three-decade career as the on-stage leader of one the UK's most successful dance music acts

By IQ on 04 Mar 2019

Keith Flint (1969–2019)

Keith Flint (1969–2019)


image © The Prodigy

The future of the Prodigy’s live career is unclear following the death of their longtime frontman, Keith Flint, earlier today.

Flint, 49, was found at his home in Great Dunnow, Essex, this morning, after police became concerned for the singer’s welfare. Prodigy bandmate Liam Howlett later revealed Flint had taken his own life.

Flint’s death brings to an end a nearly 30-year career as the Prodigy’s charismatic frontman, originally as a dancer, then, from 1996’s the Fat of the Land – which spawned two number-one singles, in the form of ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Breathe’ – onwards,  as the band’s main vocalist.

Born in 1969 in Redbridge, east London, Flint moved to Braintree, in neighbouring Essex, as a teenager. He met Howlett at a rave in Braintree in 1989, and joined forces with him professionally shortly after, with Flint and dancer friend Leeroy Thornhill providing Howlett’s music with a visual focal point on stage.

Following the critically acclaimed Experience (1992) and Music for the Jilted Generation (1994) – which, alongside releases by the likes of the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, helped usher in the rise of the big beat genre of electronic music in the UK – the Keith Flint-fronted Prodigy went stratospheric in 1996–97, supporting Oasis at their legendary Knebworth shows and headlining Glastonbury 1997.

Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis describes their performance at Glasto – the first dance act to headline the festival – as a “huge, unforgettable moment”:

The band went on unofficial hiatus until 2004, when they released their fourth studio album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, and resumed touring in earnest.

The Prodigy recently returned from Australia, where their No Tourists arena tour played venues in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with a US leg planned for May and a string of European festival dates after.

Several festival promoters tell IQ it is unclear whether the band will fulfil their touring obligations as a tribute to Flint (according to Eavis, the Prodigy were also booked for Glastonbury 2019). A statement from Finland’s Provinssi, where the Prodigy are booked to perform in June, says it is unable to comment until it receives more information from the band and their representatives; events including Estéreo Picnic in Colombia, Snowbombing in Austria, Doctor Music Festival in Spain, SW4 in the UK and Pstereo in Norway have expressed similar sentiments.

The group, and Flint in particular, were especially popular in the Balkans and eastern Europe. A statement from Serbia’s Exit festival, where the Prodigy were almost a house band, says: “We lost a dear friend today and it is not easy to describe how this news was taken, not just in Exit, but in Serbia and the Balkans in general. There is simply so much history between us to even begin telling it.

“Keith was a true pioneer, innovator and a legend. He was one of us, a dance warrior who made so many feel energised and powerful. His chanting in ‘Firestarter’ gave us the strength when we needed it the most. Unfortunately, he also needed it as much as any of us, and we hope this tragic news will help us realise how much we all need to be there for one another.”

A statement from the band simply thanks fans for “respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time”.

“I’m shell-shocked, fucking angry, confused and heartbroken,” adds Howlett, in an emotional tribute to his bandmate posted on the band’s Instagram account.

“RIP, brother Liam.”

 


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