Full name: Keith Charles Flint
From: Essex, United Kingdom
Born: 17 September 1969 (Redbridge, London, England)
Dead: 4 March 2019 (Great Dunmow, Essex, England)
Role: vocalist and dancer
On 4 March 2019, following concerns for his welfare, police were called to Flint's home, where he was found dead. The police were not treating his death as suspicious. Liam Howlett, confirmed via Instagram that his death was a suicide, saying. "The news is true, I can't believe I'm saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend."
Flint was born in Redbridge, London, England, to Clive and Yvonne Flint, on 17 September 1969 and initially raised in East London; in the mid-1970s his parents moved out to 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 where he eventually met Liam Howlett at local rave club the Barn in Braintree. 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 80s.
As said Keith came from a broken home, and had never really wanted a proper career. Having been kicked out by his dad, he spent some time in Israel, as a market-stall trader.
He came back to the UK later, living in some accommodation in Braintree with friends, alongside Sharky. He had grown his hair long, and usually wore an Afghan coat. Because of this, he had earned the nickname Sheepdog.
Keith eventually became a big fan of raving in it's inception around 1988 and was a regular on the M25 motorway scene. He spent a lot of his time dancing in The Barn in Braintree. Having never danced before in his life, he managed to hone his dancing skills there, developing himself into the fast-paced act we know him as today.
By contrast, Keith's friend Leeroy, who he had met at The Barn, was more into calmer dancing, in the style of funk. The two were quite a contrasting pair, and Sharky would often tag along with them.
Having seen and heard local DJ Liam Howlett at the Barn, Keith managed to approach him, and got a tape of a DJ set, along with Liam's own material on the b-side created at home.
When Keith and Leeroy listened to Liam's work, they were stunned. They wanted to start up a stage act with Liam as soon as possible, with Keith, Leeroy and Sharky as the dancers and Liam as the centre of the act, at the keyboards. Liam agreed, but said he needed an MC. On the date of their first ever gig, reggae MC Maxim Reality joined them, having been recruited by the act's manager Ziggy.
Keith was the band's most popular and regonized member and was often referred to as the 'frontman' for the Prodigy, due to his new-found vocal role in 1996's Firestarter, a claim which he denied. On stage Keith was a real spectacle - a human blur most of the time, shouting, spitting, and "visually expressing" himself, as he said in many interviews.
After the Experience era, Keith began to show the first of many changes to himself - a part of the evolution to the Keith we used to know him. In 1994, he was often seen on stage wearing eyeliner, dancing to the tunes of the Jilted era.
In 1995, Keith took a big image change when he appeared on stage at the Prodigy's legendary headline slot on the second stage at Glastonbury Festival 1995. His hair was cropped short, and dyed pink. The eyeliner was more evident, as were his new facial piercings, and he danced more frantically than previously. He took to coming on stage in a giant transparent plastic ball.
By the end of 1995, reports were seeping out from Braintree that Keith had done some punk-style vocals for a new Prodigy track, called Firestarter. This was premiered at the Island in Ilford, Essex, which was followed by more UK dates, in which Keith had shaved his colourful hair into a double mohican style. Spiked up on each side, having it some kind of colour, and having it shaved in the middle.
He said "I've been screaming with my body for the past six years, so now it's time to scream with my mouth". (although he wasn't really a singer, his voice had superb tone).
When The Fat Of The Land was released, almost half the tracks had Keith doing his snarling vocals. Thanks to the videos for Firestarter and Breathe, Keith had became an icon for 90s pop culture.
Keith was known to be every parents nightmare, and also had a lot of complaints about how scary he was. When the Prodigy's Firestater video was shown on TOTP TV a record number of complaints were sent to Top Of The Pops complaining about Keith Flint. One particular parent, in a letter to the BBC complaining about that video, have called him "a man in need of urgent medical attention". In 1996, he came second to Marilyn Manson in the Nutter Of The Year category of Kerrang's Reader's Poll.
Prior to the Prodigy Keith only seemed into round the world trips, motorcycles, festivals and raves. After school, he traveled a lot, visiting many places in Europe and the Middle-East. Keith was known to said that he wouldn't know what he would be like or what he would have been be doing if he wasn't in the Prodigy. Keith saw performing live as his drug, he's way of getting rid of all the built up pressure inside him. He used to dance more "normal" in the early days, but later he developed his stage persona and way of he behaves.
Keith was also known to be the loudest, but most nicest member of the group. He loved danger - already when he was little, he used to play with plugs - seeing how far he'd dare to push the plug in and touch the terminal on the other end (he never got a shock)... And he announced in the summer of 1998 that he'd be competing in the superbike race called the Clubman's Race, racing at speeds up to 160mph. There was also reports of Flint being a keen gardener, and a lover of animals. If you have ever watched the "Prodigy Unauthorised" video you will even see a clip where Keiths old head master tells how Keith Flint used to feed the rabbit in the school playground.
Keith dated TV presenter Gail Porter before her marriage to Toploader guitarist Dan Hipgrave. They were known as 'Beauty and the Beast' due to Gail's innocent beauty and Flint's appearance. The couple split in 2000, because it was too far away for Porter to commute on a daily basis for her work in the city and their relationship wasn't working out. After that Keith was married to Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai also known as DJ Gedo Super Mega Bitch. Flint and Mayumi married in England in December 2006 when the singer was 32. Reports at the time said that the guest list included Liza Minelli’s estranged husband, David Gest and Oasis singer Liam Gallagher. Liam Howlett was a bestman for Keith at the wedding.
During the late 1990s, when The Prodigy were at their commercial peak, Flint became known in the UK press for his extensive body piercing and tattooing. In an interview, he stated that his most painful tattoo was the text "Inflicted" across his stomach. He stated that it felt like he was on an altar being ritualistically scarred by a Satanic beast. The tattoo was designed by bandmate Liam Howlett.
Flint's final public performance with the Prodigy was on 5 February 2019 at the 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, that 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 Welcome to Rockville on 3 May 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida, United States.
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.
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 for respect for Flint and to raise awareness for male suicide in the UK.
Flint’s funeral was held on 29 March 2019. There was a 1.5 mile public procession attended by fans from all over the world followed by a private ceremony at St Mary’s Church Bocking, Essex attended by family and friends including Flint’s wife, Mayumi Kai, and his band mates Liam Howlett, Maxim, Leeroy Thornhill, Leo Crabtree and Olly Burden.
Rest In Peace Keith Flint. I remember meeting Keith on tour in Australia. I didn’t know he was in a band, but what a good dude. I thought he was an Australian roadie. Later that year ran into him backstage at Pinkpop and said “hey! Good to see you! Who you working for?” He said “ I’m in a band, I’m here playing.” I said, “oh how nice, how was your show?” He said, “we are playing after Rage. We are headlining this festival.” I’m like, well I’m gonna check that out! One of the very few bands in history to kick Rage Against The Machine’s ass in a live setting. They were tremendous and Keith was an electric, powerful, compelling and dangerous frontman. I was very much influenced by them and continue to be. Had the great pleasure of running into Keith last summer and was reminded what a good and talented dude he was. Rest well, Firestarter. (Suicide can be prevented, you CAN get help: please go to save.org)
BRITISH MUSIC HISTORY - The Prodigy
Our Legend - Keith Flint
To my darling Prodigy fans .I am absolutely devastated. Thank You for your calls and messages. Today Liam has lost his brother , music icon Keith Flint.There will never be anyone like Keith.I know you are hurting so am I. Regardless of his dynamic image he was a beautiful soul .He was kind and humble.When I recorded the vocals for "Smack My Bitch Up" and saw Keith ,I was excited to meet him.After I layed my vocals down at the studio..Keith looked up at me with a great smile, waved his hands up in the air and said "your vocals are Amazing ,this is gonna be huge" .We met few times after that at the recording studio with Liam.
He was intelligent ,always so happy , bubbly and full of admiration.He believed in good vibes .He said I was deep .We had a great aura around us. I know his soul was looking for light,searching for something more .When one gets to speak on a personal level ,we connect tend to build more respect for the person . I feel so empty today ,tears hasn't stopped .I prayed for him and am thinking of all the band members including Maxim. At this time of distress. May God give strength to his family , friends & fans.
Faith strengthens us.
I shall miss Keith terribly .He shall always be part of us! My family too are saddened by the news today and send you all their love!
My Prodigy boy's are No.1 and always shall be No.1 in music history.
Love you Keith
May your soul rest in peace!
I loved Flinty. At times he fucking terrified me! He often mercilessly ripped the piss out of me in the early days when I first played with them…(deservedly!) but I loved him. What I’ll remember the most though is laughing - sitting in his kitchen all night making each other cry and scream with laughter till I couldn’t breathe.
There was a period when we were ridiculously close, when he was my closest friend. We lived together for a long time during which he sorted my head out on many occasions. He always bigged up my musicianship skills but never gave himself credit for having any. At all… Although the Flint solo album we worked on together was never released, I still to this day think his vocals were incredible on many of the tracks. He was far more than just a scary face and a hair cut.
It’s taken me many years to get to the point I’m at today where I feel nothing but proud of the tracks I played on with Keith. Firestarter and Breathe are part of this country’s musical make up and history. I played an incredibly small part in that.. It was all about him, in my opinion…
I lost contact with him a while ago and had been planning on getting back in contact again just recently, the fact that I didn’t and that I wasn’t there when he needed help will always be with me… I’m sorry mate.
Very sad to hear of the death of Keith Flint. I was backstage when Prodigy were playing a festival soon after ‘Firestarter’ came out. I was knocked out their records and the intensity of their show was awesome. But, feeling a lot of anger in Keith’s delivery, I somehow assumed he would hate us - Queen, etc. So I just nodded in respect when I saw him at the other side of the stage while the gear was being changed over. He ran straight over and did that Wayne’s World tongue in cheek bowing thing, and then spent a good five minutes telling me very warmly how much he loved our music and had been inspired by it in his life. After that, I perceived him very differently. And I enjoyed their records even more ! But that’s the only conversation we ever had. How horribly sad that he got to the point of taking his own life at an age when he was still so potent. A tragedy of modern life. RIP Keith. Bri
At the Q Awards years ago, when @NoelGallagher was saying he was leaving Ibiza because I’d moved there, and @DamonAlbarn refused to be in the same picture as me, and @PaulWellerHQ was saying he’d rather eat his own shit than work with me, Keith Flint came over, gave me a hug, and 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.
It’s quite unbelievable, Guy was a don, ultrapunk took it to another level RIP. A sad sad loss for an ikon wayyy wayyy tonyoung .
I discovered the Prodigy through Experience, back in 1992. There used to be a rave record store in Leicester called 5HQ – quite a frightening place, a bit like in Human Traffic. We used to hang around in there. I think they were playing Charly: I bought it, took it home and played it on my decks for days. It just didn’t really sound like anything else. There was a tribal quality to the beat. Somehow it was aggressive like punk – it had an edge that other things around the time didn’t. But it also had a pop sensibility. It really felt commercial even though it wasn’t. We were rave kids with the baggies and the T-shirts, but Keith was next level. He was always well dressed, a real one-off – you could see where everything came from but he had his twist on it. They’re the ones that last.
I think the first time we met him was at V festival. It’s always quite nerve-racking when you meet someone you really admire. You think people are gonna be more mad, more like the person they were on stage, but he was gentle, sweet, encouraging. That was the beautiful thing – he was really interested in the music we were making. When we made the second record, he came down to the session and he was so supportive. We could see it was nice for him, maybe, to see through the eyes of someone going through it again. He’d been there and done it, and he saw these young kids doing the same thing. I’d always go and see them live, so I’d see him backstage, fleetingly, but it always felt like he had our backs, which was amazing, considering that it was him that made us wanna do it ourselves. I’m heartbroken, really. It stops you in your tracks.
Serge Pizzorno, Kasabian
We’re so sad to hear of the passing of Keith. We played a lot of gigs with the Prodigy over the years and they were always friendly and supportive. he was an amazing frontman and the pure jolt of adrenaline that was Firestarter will not be forgotten.
A few memories that stick out: Keith came on stage during our gig at the Astoria. It was such a buzz that he was there leading the rave, but while dancing, he kicked the mixing desk plug out and all the sound went off. He just stood there defiant with the crowd going crazy. The feeling was that it didn’t matter: he was Keith from the Prodigy and he could whatever the fuck he wanted.
We also have a clear image of Keith at a festival in Australia. They had just played a massive headline show and absolutely rocked it. We were running around and larking about, and there was Keith in his towelling robe, eating cornflakes outside his dressing room. For some reason, it’s an image that has stuck with us. I think it made us realise that maybe this is how you navigate it: you can be the firestarter to the most extreme extent on stage, but you must also be the cornflakes and towelling robe guy. He was a true original and he will be missed.
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, The Chemical Brothers
The Prodigy were to me the Who of the 90s onwards. Exciting and dangerous to watch. The sound of rave, of the huge surge of the acid house generation breaking out. The sound of generators in far-flung fields, of getting under the fence at Glastonbury. The sound of jeering at pompous MPS brayingly grandstanding to put through the ludicrous Criminal Justice Act, the “repetitive beats” Bill. The Prog were techno, punk, big beat, they were electronica, named after a synthesiser. Even with the first “gimmicky” hit Charley, with its samples from a Central Office of Information film, beloved by grinning acid house clubbers, the Prodigy had an intense uncontainable energy. With Firestarter, they really did ignite with blast force.
I can still remember exactly where I was when Keith’s “I’m the firestarter / The twisted firestarter” came blistering out of the ghettoblaster speakers. It nearly knocked me across the room. Yes there were genuine concerns, never really satisfied for me about Smack My Bitch Up. Was it glorifying domestic abuse? Or was it about heroin? Or both? Yet they never gave the impression of being about cheap shock.
There was a melodic richness there, and they weren’t just contained by the 90s. It wasn’t just music for a jilted generation. They headlined major festivals until the present day. Out of Space and Breathe remain dance classics, dropped into mixes and remixed by generation after generation of DJs and producers. The Prodigy’s success endured. None of it could have happened without a unique frontman in Keith Flint. He drew drama out of the music, scarily, entertainingly. A master of stagecraft. We need rebellious, challenging music like that of the Prodigy so much more right now.
A hero. Thank you for your raw honesty. Because if it were not for your fear I could not learn to be fearless. Were it not for your truths, I would never have found the answers. If not for your voice, I wouldn’t know how to be Yung Rapunxel. You’re responsible for fundamental elements of my creative expression. I will never forget meeting you down in Australia – the opportunity to even stand on stage with you was a once in a lifetime opportunity I consider myself lucky to have had. You gave me options when I felt there were none. My angel, my hero, dear Saint Keith. Always and forever.
It’s with deep sadness that I hear of Keith’s passing. As the singer in Pop Will Eat Itself, I crossed paths with the Prodigy a number of times over the years – from the early rave gig days pre-Charly and when we did vocals and guitar for Their Law, to name a couple. The band had a huge impact on me and my work, and whenever we met they were always sweet and generous to us.
My overriding memory of Keith is around the Jilted Generation era when he would come on stage in the big plastic bubble and writhe around in it on top of the audience – full on! It was so energetic, so much fun, so vibrant; the music they made together has enriched us all and given us such an incredible energy blast and, above all, such love. My thoughts go out to the entire Prodigy family, and I am sending huge love and respect to Keith for lighting up this world with his fire.
When Prodigy first came on the scene, their work was like an adrenaline injection sorely needed within the musical landscape. The music was exciting and Keith Flint brought an incredible, dangerous persona to deliver the lyrics with an arresting attitude. Keith’s performance both on stage and in the band’s videos was always electrifying. I’ll miss his bravado and what was clearly, by my standards, some of the best music of yesterday and still today.
The Prodigy were the band that opened my ears to electronic music. As a kid I had the typical disdain of a metaller for anything featuring drum machines and synthesisers; when Fat of the Land dropped, it blew my mind wide open. It showed me that “dance” music could be just as heavy, heavier even, than anything I’d been listening to before.
I was lucky enough to catch them live a couple of times in recent years and their show was incomparable. I will not forget the sight of Keith making 40,000 Germans bounce at the same time, the very earth shaking beneath my feet. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
I was introduced to the Prodigy when I was a staunch rock kid. It was solely Keith’s feverish punk spirit that lured me into the world of dance music, which then opened up my musical horizons overall. He was a thrilling performer – iconic and fervent – but he was also a truly warm and gentle presence off stage. We toured with the Prodigy throughout Europe during our fledgling years and Keith immediately shattered my assumption that big stars would be arrogant and aloof. He was so friendly and approachable and was incredibly passionate and knowledgable about music. The other Shikari guys and I send our love to all his family and friends.
Rou Reynolds, Enter Shikari
I can’t say I knew Keith very well, but on the few occasions I did meet him he was fun, gentle and good to be around. What I do know is that he was one of the most dynamic, exciting and iconic frontmen I’ve ever seen. A powerhouse of energy and attitude on stage. To say he will be greatly missed is an epic understatement. This is a truly sad and demoralising day. Rest in peace, Keith.
Such an incredibly sad day, a massive loss. He was a gentleman, one of the nicest people you could ever meet and one of the greatest frontmen of all time. One of my favourite memories was watching him rock out with the band side of stage in Estonia last summer. It was a masterclass. A true icon of the rave generation.
He was the visual aesthetic of my youth, the standout image of coolness and rebellion. I was about eight years old when I saw the front cover of Music for the Jilted Generation amongst my childminder’s CDs. I remember thinking, “What the hell is that?” The first song she played me was Poison. In those days we had The Box on cable TV, so I saw the video: Keith was squirming around with rats in what looked like black tar, and I was fucking mesmerised. When The Fat of the Land came out and the Firestarter video was everywhere, suddenly this band I’d been telling all my school friends about were unavoidable, and Keith was at the centre of it.
No band has affected the world the way they have. They still remain the bar that the rest of dance music attempts to reach, and so far – for me – no one has come close to what they achieved both musically or aesthetically. Every single element of that group is as valuable as the other. To lose any one of them so early on would be a devastating loss, but to lose Keith is a real fucking kick in the teeth. His presence will forever be felt and the records he recorded will never be equalled or surpassed. He was a unique individual that inspired me more than anyone will ever understand.
Ben Drew, Plan B
Keith Flint was a brilliant dancer, and dancing was what rave was about. Without dancing, raves are just someone playing tunes to a group of people standing around getting trashed. That strange, visceral connection between music, DJ and crowd is all in the dancing – Flint understood that and took that onstage. When rave first arrived, there was a lot of talk about tribalism, transcendentalism and shamanic rhythms. Flint really was that shamen. He embodied adrenalin, rebellion, that unbelievable rush you can only get when everyone in the same room is going through the same rush as you. He was a living catalyst. I think if aliens had landed in the middle of a Prodigy gig, they would have thought that Keith was actually our god.
Usually I’m able to hold myself back from tears of any sort, but this morning has been very overwhelming and heart-wrenching. Almost two years ago, a mutual friend connected us with the Prodigy; the track we made together became one of the most furious songs on their new album. We were very honoured, and excited to have the opportunity to tour the UK with them: it was only a few months ago we were backstage cracking jokes and telling each other stories. He was so kind and down to earth, and a real gentleman. It frightens me to lose my brother on stage and in life. Thank you, Keith Flint, for the inspiration: from the way you dress, to your attitude, to your voice on stage and all the glorious records over the years. May you rest easy, my friend. My condolences to his team, crew, family, Liam and Max.
Keith Flint learned to play guitar in 2001/2002 and was sending parts to Liam with intention of playing live on stage with it at Leeds/Reading festivals in 2002 in their original AONO phase.
"He still can't play, but that's the point" Howlett said. "If I wanted a guitar player who played really well I'd find someone who could do that, but the idea of this band is DIY" "I like that Keith can't really play the guitar and that what he plays isn't musical. It forces him to play in a style which is very, um, manic really, and it gets really good results... " "He's been throwing me loads of bits and pieces over the last few months to put into the songs. It's been refreshing to hear one of the band actually putting in some musical ideas. " Live though, is a no-go. "He's not ready to play live," Howlett said. "We've talked about it and maybe the next time we go out in England in six months he might play"" Source
He was a motorbike fan. He announced in the summer of 1998 that he'd be competing among professional racers. His first motorcycle competition was in October 1998, in which he came in 3rd (he was riding at speeds up to 160mph).
He also rode the 1500 miles from Britain to Southern Spain to attend the 2007 Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix, and also races in club competitions. He is known to have ridden with Lee Thompson of the band Madness. He owned a motorcycle racing team, 'Team Traction Control', which won three Isle of Man TT races in 2015, ridden by Ian Hutchinson. Team also competed in the British Supersport Championship.
He loved danger - already when he was little, he used to play with plugs - seeing how far he'd dare to push the plug in and touch the terminal on the other end (he never got a shock)... Even in racing, he loves dangerous situations ("Every now and then you have something that's a near-death situation. I used to enjoy crashing as much as riding. " - Keith)
He was into gardening ("Or he's out digging a pond in his garden that's four feet deep and 20-odd foot long. He loves his gardening. " - Leeroy)
His grades in school were terrible, and he has no skills - so the Prodigy have helped him a lot to find what he can and want to do. As he said it, he literally walked out of the crowd to be a dancer in the band, instead of filling in some kind of application form.
When he was young: according to what his ex-schoolmates said, he was very quiet ("He was really a lovely fella, really quiet. I got the shock of my life when I saw him all these years later"), and liked animals and fishing. ("One day on the way home from school he found a sick hedgehog. Keith tried nursing it back to health but it died. He was gutted. ")
Some of his goals in life were to live out his ultimate sex experience (with a lot of chicks), have every part of his body pierced, and try all the hair colours. He had about a hundred nose rings, earings and a tounge ring. He had tattoos including one across his stomach that says "Inflicted". That very same tattoo across his body was actually the only one of its kind as it was designed by the Prodigy's main-man Liam Howlett.
What described his personality the best are the lyrics of Firestarter, which he wrote about himself. Actually the first time he liked something he had done was when he first did Firestarter. ("For the first time I'd liked something I'd done. Not just musically, but personally. [...] I got home and I put it on and I thought: 'I fuckin'like this,' and I felt this massive wave of emotion... ")