|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 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, near Chelmsford, 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 showcased 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.
The Prodigy album Invaders Must Die was released on 23 February 2009 and featured vocals by Flint on multiple tracks. Flint released a single titled "War" with dubstep artist Caspa in 2012.
Flint experimented with solo projects, including his punk rock band Flint, which included 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 Mayumi Kai, a Japanese DJ. 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.
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's death was a suicide. 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.
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 coroner's 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.
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. Fellow British musician and Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay said, "What bloody tragic news. What a top fella and a great laugh. I hope they’ve got a quick bike for him up there.. cos he fucking sure knew how to ride one. Keith Flint... always ‘balls to the wall’."
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 "Firestarter" hairstyle.
Whilst performing at Glastonbury Festival in June 2019, Liam Gallagher dedicated "Champagne Supernova" to Flint.
In the 2020 video game Assassin's Creed Valhalla, a bard named Keith whose appearance resembles Flint's can be found in Essex, England, as part of a sidequest titled "The Prodigy". There, the "Bishop of the Ruins" is denouncing his music as unholy. The character says the presence of the player character, Eivor, is "surely an omen", referencing the Prodigy's song of the same name; when the protesting clergyman starts a fistfight with Eivor, Keith encourages the character to "Smack my Bishop". Kristen McGorry, a writer on the game, confirmed on Twitter that these and other references were intentional tributes to Flint and the band.
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-06-13 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=1334730