Keith Flint was an English singer and dancer, best remembered as the founding member and frontman of the electronic dance band ‘The Prodigy.’ Although he was the lead singer in many of their songs, he also had his own band, ‘Flint,’ and a motorcycle racing team, ‘Team Traction Control.’ Most people remember him for his unusual appearance, replete with bright colored mohawks, heavy eyeliner, and multiple tattoos. His most memorable hit was definitely ‘Firestarter.’ The singer who had been battling painkiller addiction was found dead in his home after apparently committing suicide by hanging himself. The news shocked the public and the music community and was followed by a wave of eulogies and thoughts of sympathy and regret.
Childhood & Early Life
Keith Charles Flint was born in Redbridge, London, on September 17, 1969. His father was a German Jew immigrant. The atmosphere in the family was always agitated. There were many conflicts between Keith and his father, as his bandmate Leeroy Thornhill once told in a 1997 interview. Apparently, his father was a successful engineering consultant and had high expectations of his son. As a result, he disliked Keith’s spiky hair and his passion for motorcycling.
The main reason for the struggles in the singer’s childhood and life was his dyslexia. Although tests proved he had a high IQ, he had trouble concentrating at school. He also had a bad temper, which caused his parents to send him to a special school where, as Keith said, the staff used hypnosis to try to calm him. Eventually, his rebellious conduct at school, paired with his explosive relationship with his father, Clive, got the “bright boy with dyslexia” expelled from school at 15. He then worked as a roofer and a market-stall trader in Israel, until he discovered the music scene.
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Given his troubled childhood and teenage years, Flint never really considered having a career. When he came back to the UK, he moved in with some friends. Back then, he would often spend a lot of time dancing at ‘The Barn’ in Braintree. That was where he started developing his dance moves. It was also where he met DJ Liam Howlett, and the two became friends immediately. Howlett agreed to play his material on stage while Keith would dance to it alongside his friend Leeroy Thornhill. They met MC Maxim Reality at the show. Thus, ‘The Prodigy’ was formed.
In 1996, Keith left his place as a dancer and became the lead singer of the band, displaying his vocal skills in ‘Firestarter.’ ‘Breathe’ was the next single, with Keith and Maxim in vocals. His image was definitely a huge part of the show. His style changed, too, from short pink hair to a double Mohican. His eyeliner, his piercings, and his tattoos completed the look. He once stated, “I’ve been screaming with my body for the past six years, so now it’s time to scream with my mouth.”
The band’s next few albums featured him on several songs. At the same time, Keith tried to start his solo career, with his own bands, ‘Flint’ and ‘Clever Brains Frying.’ Unfortunately, his debut solo album failed and was canceled after the release of only one single, ‘Aim4.’
Keith’s albums with ‘The Prodigy’ were ‘Experience’ (1992), ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ (1994), ‘Electronic Punks’ (1995), ‘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).
Apart from being passionate about music, Flint was also involved in motorcycling. He attended the 2007 Spanish motorcycle ‘Grand Prix’ and also rode with Lee Thompson of the band ‘Madness.’ He even started his own team, ‘Team Traction Control,’ which won two ‘Isle of Man TT’ races.
Family & Personal Life
Not much is known about Keith’s personal life. He dated TV presenter Gail Porter until 2000. He then got married to Mayumi Kai, a Japanese DJ, better known as “DJ Gedo Super Mega Bitch.”
Keith loved animals and gardening. In 2014, he became a landlord, after buying and renovating a pub named ‘Leather Bottle’ in Pleshey.
His death came as a huge shock, about a month after his final performance with ‘The Prodigy’ in New Zealand. His lifeless body was found hanging, but the official inquest stated that there was not enough evidence that it had been a suicide. However, his band announced that Keith had taken his own life. Apparently, there was a lot of alcohol, cocaine, and codeine in his system.
A lot of people disliked Keith’s scary appearance. A record number of complaints were sent to TV stations when ‘Firestarter’ was aired. He attained the second place in the ‘Nutter of the Year’ category of Kerrang's ‘Reader's Poll’.
Flint had many tattoos but the most famous of them was the one across his stomach, which read “INFLICTED.” He admitted that it had been the most painful one, comparing it to being on an altar and being ritualistically scarred by a Satanic beast.
He apparently gave an honest forecast on his troubled life, saying “When I’m done, I’ll kill myself.”
While he was living in Braintree, he had long hair and always wore an Afghan coat, which earned him the nickname “Sheepdog.”
His net worth at the time of his death at the age of 49 was estimated at $15 million.