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Video Games, Loud Music, and How I Became a Huge Fan of The Prodigy
I still remember my reaction to playing Wipeout for the first time. It was 1996, and even though I was well into what some people considered adulthood, I continued with exactly one thing from my childhood – video games.
Adventure, Asteroids, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris, RC ProAm, Pole Position, Contra, Tecmo Bowl, Bases Loaded (which we turned into a drinking game), and on and on and on. So many games over the years, every year bringing a new game that upped the ante on what had already been released so far. Atari to Nintendo to SEGA, it felt like video games were just getting better and better every year!
Then it happened. I saw a Playstation hooked up to a huge rear projection TV (well, huge for 1995). The TV sound was pumping through the stereo playing songs I had never hear before. On the screen was the craziest most frenetic game I had ever witnessed – WIPEOUT.
I had always been into racing games, but this was something completely different.
It was fast. Like, REALLY fast!
It was fucking loud too, and the music was insane!!!
I hadn’t even played it yet and I was totally hooked.
I don’t remember how long I played the game that night, but it was one of those ‘fish to water’ moments for me. Sitting right in front of that huge screen the game made you feel like the fastest human on the planet.
Then, I found out there was a newer version of the game on the coffee table.
My brain screamed “PUT IT IN!!!!!!!!!!!”, and suddenly everything dialed up to 11. The game looked better, the handling of the vehicles was way improved from the first game, and I was still in awe of what I was seeing. In a matter of hours everything I thought about video games had changed based on speed and music.
Then I heard it.
“I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter!”
I had officially been introduced to The Prodigy.
It was like switching from BC to AD for me.
Sure, the game was amazing, but that song! There were other amazing songs from bands I’d never heard of like Chemical Brothers and FSoL, but fucking Prodigy was the game changer for me
I went to Rolling Thunder to buy ‘Music for a Jilted Generation’ and I officially became obsessed with The Prodigy. The same people who were sick of me always listening to the Beastie Boys were now annoyed because all I played was that stupid video game music. That CD was on a constant loop for me – ‘Their Law’, ‘Voodoo People’, ‘Poison’, ‘No Good’, ‘Skylined’, all of it. Over and over again. A lot of people hated it when I played it in the car, which only made me like it more. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to drive fast and take chances, so it was always better when I was in the car by myself.
The only problem with this first CD I bought was ‘Firestarter’ wasn’t on it. Then ‘Fat of the Land’ was released and It was like they had jacked up the pace of everything to a point that almost made my head explode! Even people who aren’t fans know the songs from this CD, like ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, and of course ‘Firestarter’. To me this is one of my Top 5 albums/CDs of all-time. I know plenty of people who would laugh if they knew I placed this collection of songs on such a high pedestal, but fuck them – this is my list.
The thing is they never let up the pace. Every collection of songs from these guys seemed impossible to beat, but they did it every time they put out music. They got better, their beats got better, the adrenalin rush was always there, and they were masters of a style of music that to people like me they kinda owned.
Last month I saw they were playing in Dallas and I was pumped. I’ve been to so many concerts and live shows over the years, but The Prodigy was one of those bands I never saw live, and they were coming to Dallas!!! There was no way I was going to miss it.
Then I saw the news on Monday morning. Keith Flint, the crazy ass demon frontman who was always full of crazy energy had taken his life over the weekend. I was crushed.
How could this happen was the question I had stopped asking a while ago when people take their own life. There’s no understanding it really, some people simply succumb because they can’t handle it. Just like Kurt Cobain and Chris Cornell, there aren’t any real answers other than they were all overwhelmed. All the success, the fame, the friends and family, the traveling, all of it that we from the outside see as things that make a person so lucky make it hard to know how a person could give all that up. Mental health can be a bitch for some people, and depression can make problems seem insurmountable.
It’s a tragedy when someone takes their life, and this time it’s no different. Keith Flint completely changed how I listened to music like only a very few people have done over my fifty years. It’s hard to add another one of my favorites to the list of bands that will never make any music again, but here we are.
It’ll happen again, and it’ll take us by surprise just like it has any time a celebrity or someone we know ends their life.
Rest in peace Keith.
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