Flint in 2009
|Born||17 September 1969|
Redbridge, London, England
|Died||4 March 2019 (aged 49)|
North End, Essex, England
Keith Charles Flint (17 September 1969 – 4 March 2019) was an English singer, dancer and motorcycle racer. He was a founding member of the electronic dance act The Prodigy. Starting out as a dancer, he became the frontman of the group and performed on the group's two UK number one singles, "Firestarter" and "Breathe" both released in 1996. He was also the lead singer of his own band, Flint. He owned a motorcycle racing team, Team Traction Control, which won four Isle of Man TT races throughout 2015 and 2016, and competed in the British Superbike Championship.
Flint was born in Redbridge, London, to Clive and Yvonne Flint, on 17 September 1969. Clive Flint worked as an engineering consultant. Keith Flint was initially raised in East London but in the mid-1970s his parents moved out to a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in Springfield, Essex. His childhood was described as unhappy and he feuded with his parents, who parted when he was young. He attended the Boswells School in Chelmsford and moved to Braintree after leaving school. Flint was described as being a "bright boy with dyslexia" and was disruptive in class. He was expelled from school at the age of 15. Flint then worked as a roofer and later enthusiastically embraced the acid house scene of the late 1980s. Musically, Flint was a childhood fan of the Jam and in the late 1980s he listened to bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Flint met DJ Liam Howlett at local rave club the Barn in Braintree, Essex and said he liked Howlett's taste in music. After receiving a mixtape from Howlett, Flint came back with great enthusiasm, insisting that Howlett should be playing his tracks up on stage and that Flint, along with friend Leeroy Thornhill, would dance to them. Flint, Howlett and Thornhill were joined by MC Maxim Reality and became a successful electronic dance act called the Prodigy.
In 1996, just prior to the release of the Prodigy's third album, Flint moved from being a dancer for the group to being its frontman when he performed vocals on the hit single "Firestarter" and the accompanying video showcasing Flint's new and soon-to-be iconic punk look. This trend continued with the next Prodigy single "Breathe", on which Flint sang lead vocals, with Maxim backing him up.
The 1997 album The Fat of the Land featured Flint's vocal contributions to several tracks, namely "Breathe", "Serial Thrilla", "Fuel My Fire" and "Firestarter". In 2002, the single "Baby's Got a Temper" was released. Flint did not perform vocals on the next Prodigy album, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (2004), although he did appear on the "Hotride – El Batori Mix", on the "Hotride" single.
Flint experimented with solo projects, including his punk rock bands Flint, remixes by Steven “Stitch” Held at The Recovery Room and Clever Brains Fryin'. Flint's debut album, Device #1, was cancelled before its release, leaving "Aim4" as their only single to be commercially released.
Flint was a keen motorcyclist. He rode 2,400 km (1,500 miles) from England to southern Spain to attend the 2007 Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix and also raced in club competitions. He rode with Lee Thompson of the band Madness. He had his own motorcycle team, Team Traction Control, which competed in the British Supersport Championship as part of the British Superbike Championship before stepping up to the British Superbike Championship in 2017. In 2015 Team Traction Control machines won two Isle of Man TT races, ridden by Ian Hutchinson. The team and Ian Hutchinson repeated their two victories again in 2016.
Flint dated television presenter Gail Porter; the couple split in 2001. In 2006, Flint married Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai who performed as DJ Gedo Super Mega Bitch. The couple were reported to be separated at the time of Flint's death.
Flint had a tattoo across his stomach of the word "Inflicted", a reference to a lyric in "Firestarter". Flint was notoriously difficult on transatlantic flights; on one occasion he had to be restrained from kicking down the door to the cockpit. Prior to his marriage Flint suffered from depression and an addiction to prescription painkillers. Flint kept fit by boxing and practising jiu-jitsu.
In 2014, he bought and renovated the Leather Bottle pub in Pleshey, Essex and became a popular landlord. Flint kept a jar in which customers were required to put a pound if they made a "firestarter" joke as he lit the pub's fire. He ended his connection with the pub without explanation in 2017.
Flint lived in a listed Tudor manor house near Dunmow, Essex. He had a small flat track in his back garden, where he rode some of his motorcycles. Flint was a lover of animals and was an enthusiastic twitcher. He built a pond in his garden to attract birds and kept several dogs and horses at his home.
Flint's final public performance with the Prodigy was on 5 February 2019 at Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. On Saturday 2 March 2019, Flint took part in the Chelmsford Parkrun, for the third consecutive week, in which he achieved his personal best time.
On 4 March 2019, just after 8:10 am, Essex Police were called to Flint's home in North End, near Great Dunmow, Essex, in response to concerns for his welfare. Flint was pronounced dead at the scene, and the police did not treat the death as suspicious. It was later confirmed at an inquest into his death he had died as a result of hanging. The coroner adjourned the inquest until 23 July for a full hearing.
Later that day, bandmate Liam Howlett stated in an Instagram post that Flint had taken his own life. The official band website then went black with an announcement of his death and the Prodigy announced that they had cancelled all forthcoming shows. It was later revealed by Emily Eavis that this included a booking at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival. The next scheduled Prodigy performance was to be the Estéreo Picnic Festival on 6 April 2019 in Bogotá, Colombia.
Following his death, many musical artists and music industry figures from around the world paid tribute to Flint. Many tributes highlighted Flint's gentle temperament, illustrating a personal kindness, politeness and generosity that contrasted with his energetic and sometimes aggressive stage persona.
Flint's funeral was held on 29 March 2019. There was a 1.5 mile public procession attended by fans from around the world followed by a private ceremony at St Mary's Church Bocking, near Braintree in Mid-Essex attended by family and friends including Flint's wife, Mayumi Kai, and bandmates Liam Howlett, Maxim, and Leeroy Thornhill.
It was established by the coroners inquest on 8 May 2019 that there was insufficient evidence to conclude a suicide verdict in relation to Flint's death.
After Flint's death, fans used the hashtag 'Firestarter4Number1' on social media in a campaign to try to get the song "Firestarter" to Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart as a mark of respect for Flint and to raise awareness for male suicide in the UK.
In June 2019, fashion designer Donatella Versace dedicated her spring/summer 2020 menswear show in Milan to Keith Flint's memory. Versace, who was a friend of Flint's, dressed male models in clothing reflecting his style and they sported Flint's distinctive fire starter hair style.
With the Prodigy
- Experience (1992) (Credited as band member; does not perform)
- Music for the Jilted Generation (1994) (Credited as band member; does not perform)
- The Fat of the Land (1997)
- Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005 (2005)
- Invaders Must Die (2009)
- World's on Fire (2011)
- The Day Is My Enemy (2015)
- No Tourists (2018)
- England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005, September 1969, vol. 5d, p. 2989
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- Roach 2010, p. 22.
- Roach 2010, p. 23.
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- "Ian Hutchinson Wins Supersport 2 To Equal Hailwood". Isle of Man TT Official website. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
- "'Babies look at me and stop crying. It's like I'm one of them'". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
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- "Interview with Essex band The Prodigy for new album release The Day Is My Enemy". 27 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
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- "Keith Flint: My life in bikes". Motorcycle News. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
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- "The Prodigy Setlist at The Trusts Arena, Auckland". setlist.fm. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- Moore, Sam (4 March 2019). "The Prodigy's Keith Flint had just achieved a "storming" Parkrun personal best". NME. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (4 March 2019). "Keith Flint: Prodigy vocalist dies aged 49". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
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- "The Prodigy". The Prodigy. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "The Prodigy". The Prodigy. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
- "Estéreo Picnic brings The Prodigy to Colombia for the first time". Resident Advisor. 27 December 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- Nick Reilly (4 March 2019). ""My heart is broken for him": Sex Pistols icon Johnny Rotten pays tribute to Keith Flint". NME. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
- @petetong (4 March 2019). "Sad to wake up to the news that we lost Keith Flint, a true original. The Prodigy have made a huge contribution to dance culture and electronic music around the world. Keith's contribution as the band's iconic front man was immense and he will be dearly missed R.I.P xx" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 March 2019 – via Twitter.
- Snapes, Laura (5 March 2019). "Stars pay tribute to Keith Flint: 'A powerhouse of energy and attitude'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
- Mark Savage (4 March 2019). "Keith Flint: Stars and fans recall the Firestarter's soft side". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- "Prodigy fans from around world gather for Keith Flint's funeral". The Guardian. 29 March 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- "Fans 'raise roof' at Keith Flint funeral". BBC News. 29 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- Association, Press (8 May 2019). "Keith Flint: not enough evidence for suicide verdict, coroner rules". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
- Colothan, Scott. "Prodigy fans launch 'Firestarter for Number 1' campaign in memory of Keith Flint". Kerrang! Radio. Planet Radio. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- Conlon, Scarlett (17 June 2019). "Donatella Versace pays homage to the Prodigy's Keith Flint in Milan". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
- "Liam Gallagher dedicates 'Champagne Supernova' to Keith Flint during blistering Glastonbury set". Nme.com. 29 June 2019.
- "Flint + The Prodigy". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- James, Martin (2002). The "Prodigy" (Paperback ed.). Sanctuary Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-860-74356-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Roach, Martin (2010). The Prodigy: The Official Story – Electronic Punks. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-784-18964-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Keith Flint discography at Discogs
- Keith Flint on IMDb
- Keith Flint: Stars and fans recall the Firestarter's soft side. BBC News. Published 5 March 2019.