The Prodigy has a knack for making headlines. There was the fuss over its controversial single “Smack My Bitch Up,” which had music outlets in the U.S. refusing to sell the group’s Grammy-nominated The Fat of the Land album from 1997. There are its now-legendary performances at Moscow’s Red Square and as Lollapalooza headliners that same year. There are the album sales that make the Prodigy one of the best-selling dance acts of all time. And just last week, it landed in the news again: At the BBC’s Radio 1 festival in Swindon, England, the Prodigy blew out its mixing board after its volume hit so far into the red it set off car alarms in the parking lot.
Since bursting out of the U.K. rave scene in the mid-’90s, the Prodigy has held one priority above all others: being hardcore. “We take things by the horns,” boasts frontman Liam Howlett, 37. We reached the group’s musical mastermind in his London studio, where he was taking a mini respite from a recently wrapped European arena tour. Flanking Howlett is the motley duo of vocalist Maxim Reality and Keith Flint, the band’s most visible member, whose distinctive double Mohawk, septum piercing and rows of spiked rings were a prominent feature in the music video for “Firestarter,” the band’s first major stateside hit.
The Prodigy play Chicago's Congress Theater Saturday 5/23.