Keith Flint

Keith Charles Flint (17 September 1969 – 4 March 2019) was an English vocalist, dancer and motorcycle racer. He was best known for his work with 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 three Isle of Man TT races in 2015 and competed in the British Supersport Championship.

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Keith Flint
Flint in 2009
Background information
Birth nameKeith Charles Flint
Born(1969-09-17)17 September 1969
Redbridge, London, England
Died4 March 2019(2019-03-04) (aged 49)
North End, Essex, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • dancer
  • motorcycle racer
Associated acts

Keith Charles Flint (17 September 1969 – 4 March 2019) was an English vocalist, dancer and motorcycle racer. He was best known for his work with 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 three Isle of Man TT races in 2015 and competed in the British Supersport Championship.

Early life

Flint was born in Redbridge, London, England, to Clive and Yvonne Flint, on 17 September 1969.[1][2] Clive Flint was the son of a German Jewish immigrant and worked as an engineering consultant.[3] 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.[4] He attended the Boswells School in Chelmsford and moved to Braintree after leaving school.[5] 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.[4]

Music career

Flint with Prodigy guitarist Rob Holliday

In the late 1980s Flint met DJ Liam Howlett at local rave club the Barn in Braintree and said he liked Howlett's taste in music.[6] 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.[7] 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 it’s frontman when he performed vocals on the hit single "Firestarter", the accompanying video showcasing Flint's new and soon iconic punk look.[8] This trend continued with the next Prodigy single "Breathe", on which Flint sang lead vocals, with Maxim backing him up.[9]

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".[10] In 2002, the single "Baby's Got a Temper" was released.[11] 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.[12]

The Prodigy album Invaders Must Die was released on 23 February 2009 and featured vocals by Flint on multiple tracks.[13] Flint released a single titled "War" with dubstep artist Caspa in 2012.[14]

Flint experimented with solo projects, including his punk rock bands Flint 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.[15]

Motorcycle racing

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,[16] which competed in the British Supersport Championship as part of the British Superbike Championship. In 2015 Team Traction Control machines won two Isle of Man TT races, ridden by Ian Hutchinson.[17]

Personal life

Flint dated television presenter Gail Porter; the couple split in 2001.[18][3] In 2006 Flint married Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai who performed as DJ Gedo Super Mega Bitch.[3] [19][20] The couple were reported to be separated at the time of Flint’s death.[3]

Flint had a tattoo on his stomach of the word “Inflicted”, a reference to a lyric in Firestarter.[3] Flint was notoriously difficult on transatlantic flights; on one occasion he had to be restrained from kicking down the door to the cockpit.[3] In contrast, Flint was also a great lover of animals and was an enthusiastic twitcher.[3]

In 2014, he bought and renovated the Leather Bottle pub in Pleshey, Essex and became a popular landlord.[21] 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.[3] He ended his connection with the pub without explanation in 2017.[22][3]

Flint had lived at a 15th-century Grade-II listed country manor near Dunmow, Essex. He had a small flat track in his back garden, where he rode some of his motorcycles,[23][24] and also kept several dogs and horses at his home.[25]

Death

Flint’s final public performance with the Prodigy was on 5 February 2019 at the Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.[26] The next scheduled Prodigy performance was Welcome to Rockville on 3 May 2019 in Jacksonville, United States.[27] Two days before his death, Flint had achieved his personal best time in the Chelmsford Parkrun, in which he had been running for the previous three weeks.[28]

On 4 March 2019, Essex Police were called to Flint's home in North End,[29] near Great Dunmow, Essex, where he was found dead.[4] The police did not treat the death as suspicious. Bandmate Liam Howlett wrote in an Instagram post that Flint had committed suicide.[4][9] Later that day, the official band website went black with an announcement of his death[30] and the Prodigy cancelled all scheduled shows,[31] including a booking at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival.[28]

Following his death many musical artists and music industry figures from around the world paid tribute to Flint, including: Brian May, Jimmy Page, The Chemical Brothers, James Blunt, Boy George, Gary Numan, Foo Fighters, Ellie Goulding, Annie Nightingale, Serge Pizzorno, Clint Mansell, Frank Turner, Azealia Banks, Dizzee Rascal, Lupe Fiasco, Example, Rou Reynolds, Andy C, Ho99o9, John Lydon, Pete Tong[32] and Ben Drew.[33][34][35]

Many tributes highlighted Flint's gentle temperament, illustrating a personal kindness, politeness and generosity that contrasted with his energetic and sometimes aggressive stage persona.[33][36]

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.[37]

Discography

With the Prodigy

With Flint

References

  1. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005, September 1969, vol. 5d, p. 2989
  2. "Keith Flint – The Prodigy.info". theprodigy.info.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Keith Flint obituary". The Times. 2019-03-04. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Savage, Mark (4 March 2019). "The Prodigy's Keith Flint dies aged 49". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. "Keith Flint biography". The Prodigy. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. Roach 2010, p. 22.
  7. Roach 2010, p. 23.
  8. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited.
  9. 1 2 Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (4 March 2019). "Keith Flint: Prodigy singer dies aged 49". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  10. Comeau, Dave (4 March 2019). "Best Keith Flint Prodigy songs as fans pay tribute following singer's sudden death". Surrey Live. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  11. "Prodigy single "Tempered" by radio". NME. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. "The Prodigy – "Hotride"". discogs.org. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  13. "Invaders Must Die". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  14. War (Media notes). Virgin Records. 2012. VST2050.
  15. "Keith Flint Glad His Solo Career Flopped". Contact Music. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  16. "Great guy who loved his racing: Motorcycle tributes to Prodigy singer and Team Traction Control owner Keith Flint". The Belfast Telegraph. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  17. "Keith Flint confirms Hutchinson Ride For TT in 2016". Isle of Man TT. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  18. "'Babies look at me and stop crying. It's like I'm one of them'". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  19. "Prodigy singer Flint to wed". Irish Examiner. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  20. "Japanese DJ Mayumi Kai denies she was married to Keith Flint amid confusion over wife with same name". NME. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  21. "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.
  22. Youell, Clare (24 March 2017). "The Prodigy's Keith Flint quits running pub near Chelmsford". Essex Live.
  23. "Keith Flint: My life in bikes". Motorcycle News. 2019-03-04. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  24. - (2019-03-04). "RIP Keith Flint: The dirt bike fan". MotoHead. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  25. Stubbs, Dan (2019-03-06). "Keith Flint, 1969-2019: the twisted face of rave, the beating heart of The Prodigy". NME. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  26. "The Prodigy Setlist at The Trusts Arena, Auckland". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  27. "The Prodigy announce first North American tour in 10 years". Consequence of Sound. 2019-02-05. Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  28. 1 2 Moore, Sam (2019-03-04). "The Prodigy's Keith Flint had just achieved a "storming" Parkrun personal best". NME. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  29. Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (2019-03-04). "Keith Flint: Prodigy vocalist dies aged 49". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  30. "The Prodigy". The Prodigy. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  31. "The Prodigy". The Prodigy. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  32. mbe, Pete Tong (2019-03-04). "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 xxpic.twitter.com/1wB0PhN1Gd". @petetong. Retrieved 2019-03-10. line feed character in |title= at position 70 (help)
  33. 1 2 Laura Snapes (5 March 2019). "Stars pay tribute to Keith Flint: 'A powerhouse of energy and attitude'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  34. Mark Savage (4 March 2019). "Keith Flint: Stars and fans recall the Firestarter's soft side". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  35. 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.
  36. Mark Savage (4 March 2019). "Keith Flint: Stars and fans recall the Firestarter's soft side". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  37. Colothan, Scott. "Prodigy fans launch 'Firestarter for Number 1' campaign in memory of Keith Flint". Kerrang! Radio. Planet Radio. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  38. "Flint + The Prodigy". Discogs. Retrieved 4 March 2019.

Other sources

  • James, Martin (2002). The "Prodigy" (Paperback ed.). Sanctuary Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-860-74356-6.
  • Roach, Martin (2010). The Prodigy: The Official Story – Electronic Punks. John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-784-18964-8.
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