Keith Flint – Remembering An Icon
There are three distinct things I can point to in my childhood that led to me working in the creative industry. Disney films, Nike Air Jordans and Keith from The Prodigy.
Disney and Nike Airs were hard to avoid for a seven year old. Keith from The Prodigy probably wouldn’t be on a youngster’s radar. However, my cousin lived two doors down and had a poster of this manic looking man. What most kids would find terrifying, I found fascinating.
When your older cousin records some music on to tape for you (yes cassette), it could probably be anything, but you’ll think that music is the coolest thing you’ve ever heard. Well in my case No Good (Start The Dance) was the anthem of my childhood. It opened a doorway in to a type of music that merged metal, dance, rave, hip-hop, rock and pop in to a visceral assault on our household stereo.
But The Prodigy wasn’t just about music. As one of the most successful dance acts of all time they forged a place in creative culture influencing music, design, arts and reinventing how a music gig could be. Keith was at the forefront of that. A frontman that represented a level of expression and bravery that very few artists touch on.
Keith personified what The Prodigy was about. Pushing boundaries, creatively daring, terrifying yet fascinating. Growing up witnessing that is inspiring. Frontman of one of the biggest music acts of all time (you will have heard one of their songs on TV, in an advert, on the radio), owning his own motorbike racing team, designing his own tattoos, making music with other artists in a range of genres, running a country pub. Here was someone that did things his way.
An iconic look, most people would recognise Keith even if they’d never heard a Prodigy song. Certainly his starring role in the video for Firestarter will remain timeless and a visual standard for music videos.
And yet away from the aggressive music, groundbreaking style and undoubtedly unique appearance, his peers speak of a kind and generous man. Charitable, friendly, praising and warm hearted. Perhaps his most inspiring characteristics. James Blunt tweeted about how at the Q Awards many famous artists wouldn’t give him the time of day, Keith ran over and hugged him and congratulated him on his success. Brian May tells a similar story.
said how thrilled he was for my success.
Keith, I only met you once, but I shed a tear at the news of your death. In our business, there are no prizes for being kind, but if there was, that Grammy would be yours.
— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) March 4, 2019
Sometimes a musician, artist, designer or creator can show you a side to life that you otherwise wouldn’t see. They can inspire you to push your own creative boundaries and explore things you otherwise wouldn’t find. I’m sure Keith did that for thousands, if not millions of people.
Many years in my teens were spent listening to The Prodigy and drawing, designing and creating. I’ve been lucky enough as an adult to see them seven times. If you haven’t seen The Prodigy, buy a DVD of a live performance and turn your speakers up. Everything I’ve written here will slot in to place.
For me, one of the last great rock stars.
Thank you, Keith.
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