Keith Flint Funeral Eulogy

Keith Charles Flint, the lead singer and face of The Prodigy, sadly passed away on 4 March 2019, and the news sent a huge shockwave around the world. To pay tribute to the great artist, we are publishing the full eulogy from Keef’s funeral on 29 March 2019, which includes many iconic quotes from Flinty’s friends, family and bandmates. For the first time, a text version of the eulogy is available online.

The funeral took place on 29 March 2019 in Bocking, Essex, Keith Flint’s home place, where he lived most of his life and spent his final days. The procession route was announced on 23 March at around midday London time: the post was published on all the band’s official accounts.

Fans are invited to line the procession route, starting at 3pm in Braintree, Essex on Friday 29th March, to pay their final respects & ‘raise the roof’ for Keef Flint! If anyone wishes to lay flowers or tributes these should be sent to St Mary’s church in Bocking, no later than 2pm on Friday. The church service will just be for family and close friends, but there will be speakers relaying the ceremony outside the church for everyone to hear.

Keith’s family, friends and loved ones were in attendance, as were thousands of fans who accompanied the cortege along the route. Rev Rod Reid led the service, which included poems, readings and music from System Of A Down, Van Morrison and Pink Floyd. A eulogy was written by Martin Roach and read by actor Paul Kaye.

The original video from which the transcript was made. Uploaded by Declan Mccusker.

Keith Flint was a man of extremes. That’s who he was and that’s how he wanted to live his life. Extremes were what drove him and gave him the passion and energy to be who he was. So with that in mind, let’s kick this off with a quick tale from Liam.

Liam Howlett: We lived next door to each other in about 1996. I’d go over to his house in the morning, usually slag a few people off, or bangs, and sometimes he would make breakfast. At the time he had a pet albino python, this big fucking yellow thing. He always had it round his neck, walking round the house doing his bits and pieces.


One morning I arrived at this lovely smell of breakfast cooking. ‘That smells good, I’ve come at the right time for breakfast’, I said. Keith replied: ‘Oh no mate, that’s just a dead frozen rat defrosting on the top of the oven plate for the snake to eat. It bit me last week because I missed its feeding day’. He realised after that that snakes prefer a less frozen, more alive rat to eat.


After that we jumped in my car, Keith with the snake, now with a belly full, to go and do some Japanese press. We arrived at the hotel, Keith and this big fucking massive snake round his neck got out of the car and all the press ran away. Just another normal day in Keith’s world.

Keith was born at home on the 17th September 1969 in Goodmays, Ilford, to Clive and Yvonne and big sister Sharon, who was two years old. When Sharon was told by mum and dad that they had a big surprise for her, she asked if it was a banana. So they patiently explained: ‘No, you have a little brother’. Sharon’s earliest memory is peering over the cot to see Keith on the day he was born. 49 years later, nothing has changed. Sharon still loves her little brother. And still loves bananas.

A silver St. Christopher pendant, inscribed to the reverse ‘Keith C. Flint, 17-9-69’, presumed to be a gift to commemorate his birth. Courtesy of Cheffins.

When Keith was six, the family moved to Chelmsford. After living in Ilford, Chelmsford felt like the countryside. From a very young age, Keith loved going out and riding his bike with his mates. As a young lad, he had horse riding lessons, and competed in Jim Carner’s and won many rosettes. This is where his love of horses began.

However, Sharon remembers that when he played games with his sister and his cousins, they knew that Keith would always want to change the rules of the game and they always had to let him win. Otherwise he’d go off in a huff, returning later to continue with the game as if nothing had happened. Sharon has this to say about those early memories.

Sharon: As a family, we are very proud of what he achieved with The Prodigy. However, we were unsure what career path he would take as he was growing up. At six, he showed potential as a fisherman, when on Cromer Beach in Norfolk, he caught a big bass single handed. At age nine, he wanted to be the barman when we went to a friend’s party, and he spent the night meeting and greeting everyone and serving drinks, playing the host. At age seven, on holiday in Scotland, staying on a farm, he spent the two weeks helping the farmer bring in the harvest, rather than joining the family on day trips exploring Scotland. Then at the end of the holiday, he declared that he wanted to be a farmer and drink Irn-Bru for the rest of his life.

Cheeky trouble starter: Keith in his school days.
Credit: John McLellan

When Keith was a teenager, his parents sadly divorced, and Keith went to live with his dad Clive, step-mum Doreen and step-brothers Ian and Gary. As the boys grew into young men, Keith and Gary spent many happy hours together out on their motorbikes or tinkering with their cars. At fifteen, Keith got a Saturday job in a butcher’s, and when he left school, he started an apprenticeship in that trade at a butcher’s in Blackman, where he learned to roll his first joint.

Next up was a stint being a roofer, before Keith went travelling in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. On his return, he discovered the rave scene in Essex, and this is how we first came across future members of the band, as Leeroy Thornhill recalls.

Leeroy Thornhill: When I first met him, and this may be one of the best moments ever, was when he first rocked out in his bedroom to Liam’s music. He was still a hippie then, so his bedroom was covered in loads of army netting and all these things hanging from the ceiling. It was a fucking nightmare for me, there were trinkets everywhere. I had to pretty much crawl to get across the room.

Liam first met Keith when he was DJing at an all-night rave on a beach, and was immediately drawn to his energy. ‘Keith was someone who always had his own original style going on’, says Liam. ‘He had this kind of magnetic aura about him. He was very aware of British culture and fashion. We’d grown up with similar backgrounds, the Two-tone British ska movement. The first record he bought was ‘Message to You Rudy’ by The Specials. His favourite band was The Jam. He liked the anger and energy that band had when they first came out’.

Former band member Sharkey remembers those very early days. ‘We first met when we were just youngsters, raving at the Astoria. That night I met Keith and Leeroy. With me and Keith it was all about being on a dance floor. We met there, and then they all ended up coming back to my house for a rave, because that’s what we did back in those days. When you’re raving, there are certain people that you buzz off of, and Keith was one of those people. You get drawn to someone. It’s like the magnetic energy that you had that was just drawing us together. Me, him and Leeroy became best mates from that moment on’.

Sharkey: Then shortly afterwards they said: ‘We want to start a band, and we want a girl. Do you want to be in it?’. I said, ‘Yes, alright then, what do I need to do?’, and Keith said, ‘You need to come to Braintree next week to get a costume made’. They gave me the address, and I turned up the week after and got this costume made at their mate’s house, and then suddenly we were playing at The Four Aces in Dalston. That was it.

Almost immediately the band was gigging hard, and in the coming years number one albums and sold out tours followed. This massive success established The Prodigy as one of the most incendiary live bands on the planet. The release of Firestarter in 1996, then saw the band’s profile explode around the world.

‘When we wrote Firestarter’, remembers Liam, ‘we were just two mates, happy that we created something special together, but we were really proud of it. We didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought. It was a great moment driving home from the studio in London after finishing it. We just kept saying to each other, ‘Play it again, play it again!’, all the way home. We wore the cassette out’.

Maxim: For the first few years of the band I was the main frontman, and then I remember it so well, Liam said, ‘Man we’ve written this tune with Keith doing the vocals’. And I was like, really? Are you sure? And then I heard Firestarter, and it was undeniable. Wow.

Check out the definitive story
behind the Firestarter music production:

Now one of the biggest bands in the world, The Prodigy toured even harder, but behind the sold out gigs and millions of fans, Keith was just the same. ‘He had a kind heart’, recalls Maxim. ‘He was the sort of person, and I’ve seen this on many occasions, that if he saw a complete stranger in a hotel lobby looking lonely, he would go and talk to them. Next minute you know, they’re on the guest list with 20 other people. As our tour manager John will tell you, Keith had a tendency of putting people on guest lists. Not just one or two people, usually about 50’.

Maxim: One of the funniest things was up in Manchester, and we were all walking to the Arndale Centre. Back in the day we always used to go look at the shops together. We were into snowboarding back then, or clothes shops. We walked past a group of guys, and one of them sneered and shouted, ‘Ha ha, look at him, he thinks he’s the Firestarter!’. We all just look at each other.
Keith’s sense of humour was just brilliant. He’d always make you laugh. We had so many silly names from people over the years and they all came from Keith. And everywhere we went in the world, Keith would get sunburned. Even to the point in Australia at the start of 2019, Keith turned to me and said, it wouldn’t be a Prodigy tour if I wasn’t sunburned.

The band’s long-time drummer Leo has this experience with Keith, last December on tour in Europe. ‘We got into our heads that we were going to go swimming outdoors and it was initially […] about 7 degrees. But then we got to Switzerland and decided we were going to swim in Lake Zurich which was basically iced over. So we go down to the lake with John and I get in and I was literally in there for about 20 seconds. It was absolutely fucking freezing. So I got straight out. But Keith was like, ‘No I’ve got to carry on!’. And he was just swimming around in his freezy icy water for 15 minutes. When he came out his body was beetroot red and he was shaking with his teeth chattering. I shook my head when I looked at him and said, ‘You’re a fucking madman’.

While away on one of the early tours, Leeroy tells us: ‘Shopping? I’d rather shop with any woman than Keith’.

Leeroy Thornhill: One time we landed in the USA for a tour and on the first day we stopped for some food and instead Keith bought a mountain bike. A mountain bike you couldn’t get that particular one in the UK. He wouldn’t get it delivered so it sat in the bus aisle for the rest of the tour.
He suckered Liam a few times with tour purchases. One night time, Maxim and I were in the hotel room chilling when in came Blade Runner and Switchblade. They’d given themselves tags. All red face. They’d been shopping for rollerblades and whizzing around this multi-story car park for hours. They had the whole set up going on. Pads, bags. I think Keith even had a drinks holder backpack. Of course, Switchblade and Blade Runner were never seen again after that night.

Maxim remembers another time at an airport in Spain: ‘Keith went and brought this supposedly leather bag from a shop, but when he brought it back to us, we looked at it and told him it wasn’t leather. He was adamant that it was at first but when we insisted it wasn’t he got the hump and went back upstairs to the shop. We just sat there in this airport cafe watching him shouting at the shop owner. Keith came back and told us that the shop owner had said: ‘Well, the handles are leather!’. We asked him what he said in reply and Keith told us, ‘I said I was going to shit in the bag and leave it in the middle of the shop’.

DJ Heavy G & Rob Holliday | Kyiv, 2006 | Photo by Gordy

Heavy G: He wanted to go to the new Gucci store in Melbourne so I was his chosen consort for the joint. We bowled into the shop to be greeted by this really uptight sales assistant who had no idea who she was dealing with, let alone who Heavy G was. And this person was giving us all manner of attitude and the store detective was even following us around the shop. Anyway, Keith nudged me and said, ‘Watch this’. He then demanded the shop assistant show him their selection of Gucci dog collars. Keith asked to see their biggest collar at which point the assistant inquired what breed of dog the collar was intended for. Keith simply fastened the collar around his own neck, grabbed me an expensive hat and a couple of other trinkets and to the shock of all the staff, simply handed over his credit card and paid. We walked out hand in hand, him resplendent in his dog collar and me smiling with my new hat on. Keith had no time for piss takers.

Scenes at the funeral of Keith Flint at St Marys Church
Bocking, Essex, March 29, 2019 | Photo by Ian Lawrence/GC Images

Leeroy Thornhill: The logistics of touring could be a challenge because Flinty wasn’t very good at being on time. If we had a flight somewhere, I’d often get to his house and be buzzing his gate continually for 10 minutes before they’d open up to reveal him in his pants and sun baked goggles saying, ‘Yeah, I’m ready’.

Touring brought sold out gigs all across the world and Maxim has vivid personal memories of his time on stage next to Keith: ‘We knew when we were in that moment together. It was amazing. There were times when he was performing that I would just look at him, just as the crowd were looking at him and just watching. He was an amazing performer. We had a laugh on stage and a great connection. It was an amazing feeling to perform next to him. We both had our own styles of performance, but they seemed to work really well together. His performances were all about the chaos’.

The band’s drummer Leo has this take on Keith’s explosive on stage performances.

Leo Crabtree: If I was ever experiencing some personal struggle about something such as a girlfriend or whatever, he would say, ‘You cannot control the way people are. You cannot control the way the world works, but you can control what happens on stage in the next hour and a half’. It was almost like the stage was his safe place, as weird as that sounds. That’s when he was at his most free on stage.
Freedom is a big word for Keith. That is really how people related to his persona on stage. It was uninhibited and there was a freedom to it. I can remember when I first saw him on video when I was a kid, long before I joined the band and it was like, ‘Wow, this guy is so uninhibited and free’. And that characteristic is what people responded to. In fact, that’s what the band as a whole represents for an entire generation of people. There’s an energy, perhaps in all of us, and the band channeled that in a very forthright way.

Away from life on the road, Liam explains that ‘When we come off tour and we were in between albums, he channeled his energy elsewhere. He was always into bikes, but then he started this bike racing team, totally committed to it. He made a big success of that. He would never brag about it though, but then I would hear that his team would want a trophy or a race. When he finished doing that, he started riding the horses. These things were what he needed in between the band working to give them the same rush of adrenaline he got from being on stage’.

Keith Flint and Paul Denning. (Source)

Paul Denning, Keith’s best friend in the motorbike world, remembers how Keith had this unmistakable Fagan-like voice and you’d hear this huge ‘Hello sir!’ whenever he called.

Paul Denning: He’d be literally shaking with uncontrolled excitement and energy after getting off his track bike at the end of a riding session. This is what I remember best about his good times with the bikes, the unbridled energy and excitement. He once used the excuse of carrying my bags to Malaysia when I’ve broken my leg as a perfectly adequate reason to come out to the GP races and hang out with the team for a week. That week, one of the world’s most iconic sportsmen, Valentino Rossi, approached Keith and asked him for a photo. Keith’s humble, amused, almost confused reaction at one of his all-time heroes asking him for a photo was fun to watch. I love the fact that Keith always treated people based on what they were as human beings, never based on their fame, status or wealth.

Keith Flint and his dog Cyrus. (Source)

Lisa Green, who Keith knew from the world of horses, explains that he had a special connection with animals.

Lisa Green: He submerged himself in the riding until he was absolutely capable and after only a couple of leisurely months with no ferocious crash course training in the saddle, he was able to gallop up the gallops, jumping huge steeple chase fences along the way. How this man could adapt so easily is beyond me. When his brain dreamt, his body somehow caught up and turned it into a reality. I know people who’ve been riding for decades and still won’t leave the ground to jump over a small log, as ever, Keith can.
You can’t put into words just how much he loved animals. Horses and dogs flocked to him whenever he was around, even ones that were traditionally human shy. He just had a way and they all understood. He took the time to spend a quiet moment with horses after each ride, loving them and admiring them.

Drummer Leo also saw this empathy with animals: ‘Keith’s emotions were felt and expressed in a large way. He felt the world. He didn’t actually like people very much at times. He felt and saw them for what they were and had quite a dim view of human behavior. This is why I think he loved animals so much’.

Keith’s PA, Alex, saw this passion and love for animals up close. ‘He really started getting back into the horses about four years ago. He had such a connection with them. When I would go along to the yard and stay with him, you’d see him the way he was with them. There was a pure connection that you could never really seem to get with humans, the way that they looked at each other. They would get up close and be talking to them. He loved his dogs so much. Cyrus is the governor, a German Shepherd. That dog would not leave his side. I think you might have several dogs in your life but you get a once in a lifetime dog and that was Cyrus. Them two were just made for each other. He loved him more than anything and it’s so hard that they’ve been left behind’.

Keith Flint’s dog, Cyrus, arrives at late singer’s funeral in Bocking, Essex. (Source)

In typical Keith fashion, when it was time to go back on the road with the band, he was full on, 100% on it, as Liam explains: ‘I have never met anyone with so much willpower. If Keith wanted to do something, he fucking did it. He would look at when the tour was coming up and get himself really fit. I’d see him one month and he’d be pissed in the pub and then a month later he’d be ripped to shreds with no fat on him. He was always ready to represent the band when it was that time’.

But it wasn’t just bikes and horses […], he was always thinking about music. And Liam remembers this story about one particular night behind the drums.

Liam Howlett: At one time, Keith had a studio set up in his house with a drum kit. He told me that one evening he was really pissed that he woke up in the middle of the night having just dreamt, ‘Fuck, I can play the drums! I have got rhythm!’. So he gets out of bed but he fell down the stairs and smashes his head on the wall at the bottom. He got up and went and sat behind the drum kit in the dark. He said he was playing so hard he could feel the sweat pouring down his face and then he passed out on the couch.
He was awoken in the morning by a delivery guy so he answered the door and invited this guy in for a cup of tea but the guy looked a bit alarmed and said he had to get off. A while later Keith went to the toilet and when he looked in the mirror he startled himself because his entire head was plastered in dried, dark red blood from where he smacked his head going down the stairs. What he thought was sweat was actually blood covering his face. He said he looked so bizarre and just couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that the delivery guy was totally freaked out by how he looked while Keith was unaware and speaking totally normal to him.
We would always sit next to each other on the plane whenever we were going to do gigs and both laughed about that story for a whole journey.

Another time Keith surprised a house visitor in a different way, as Leeroy remembers. ‘He organised the fireworks at my wedding and as always he had an outfit for the fireworks duty. He was getting changed in my lounge and was down to just his pants when one of the old ladies at the wedding walked into the room. Striking her pose Keith said, ‘Slip a couple of notes in there and I’ll dance for you’. While pointing to the waistband in his pants. That got her a bit of a blush on but it was the highlight of her night, a story she would tell forever. That was the effect Keith had on the old and the young’.

Maxim agrees. ‘Keith brought so much happiness to people, he just had that personality. Kids were happy around him, older people were happy. He just knew how to make everyone happy. Yes there were moments when he was low and didn’t want people around but when he was feeling good he was the most generous person you could wish to meet. He would buy things for people, give them time and attention. Just the most generous soul’.

St. Mary’s Church in Bocking, Essex. 29 March 2019 | Source

Keith’s PA Alex says the same. ‘When I first started working with him he wasn’t what I expected. I’d seen the videos and all The Prodigy side of it so I expected this really lively character all the time. But what really sticks for me is just how gentle and kind he really was. He was just so giving, not in terms of handing out money and presents but the care and time that he had for people. I would listen to his problems when he wanted to talk to someone but he was so good at listening to me. He had such a good way of putting things into perspective. He thought of things in a way that I never had before. He really taught me a lot’.

Alex, Keith’s PA: Don’t get me wrong there were times where he could be a pain in the arse and he could be really hard work but I’d always give him the time of day and take all the bad stuff on the chin because I knew that any time he was a pain in the arse it wasn’t about me or anything I was doing. He was just going through some stuff. As a boss you couldn’t ask for anyone better.We would always sit next to each other on the plane whenever we were going to do gigs and both laughed about that story for a whole journey.

Keith Flint and Leo Crabtree performing live onstage. (Source)

The band’s drummer Leo wants people to know that Keith quite liked the idea of being a man of extremes. ‘If somebody else enjoys running they might go for 3 miles but he would run 10. If somebody normal has a drink they have a few pints but he would have quite a lot more than that. Someone else just has a dog Keith would have a pack of them. Keith’s legacy is that hundreds of thousands in fact millions of people have expressed their sense of loss. He has touched so many millions of people around the world. I was thinking today how many people around the world is this guy impacted on in some way. It’s staggering and that is his legacy’.

Sharkey: Complicated I suppose but he was a true punk because he had that don’t give a fuck attitude. He had that in him. He could let go. There were no boundaries. He had that attitude in him. He had that rock and roll gene in his blood and nothing was going to stand in his way. He always stood for who he was and what he believed in and never followed the herd. He was his own individual. Yes, mad and highly strung, but also calm and chilled on the other hand. Two extremes.
My relationship with Keith has defined me. Being a part of the band and then not being a part of the band has driven me through my adult life to succeed and be who I am. It all means so much to me. So his passing is totally devastating. A part of all of us has died. I believe that this has happened for a reason and it has put us all on a different path. Keith put me on a path 30 years ago and now he’s put me on another
one. I really believe that.

Heavy G explains: ‘Keith had an addictive personality, that’s a given. But I would suggest that he himself was addictive. Sometimes you’d need a break and then a little taste of him would have you hooked again and you’d be real back in. Sometimes you’d over indulge and it would take you a month to recover from it. And like all the best drugs there was good and bad with Keith. Now we all must go to cold turkey and it’s bloody hard. There hasn’t been a day in the last month I haven’t cried and laughed at times simultaneously. I now go to KA meetings. Keith Anonymous. Hi my name is Greg and it’s been nearly a month since I’ve had any Keith’.

The last Keef’s gig with The Prodigy. 5 February 2019, Auckland, New Zealand.

The boys would like to say a few words to Keith directly to close this part of the service.

The band and Keith’s personal security and friend Tom Murphy: ‘Never above you, never below you, always by your side’.

John Fairs, the band’s manager: ‘I will remember you for never being seduced by fame and fortune. For performing ‘Run With The Wolves’ and giving me both shivers of fear and delight because of the venom in your performance. I remember in Australia just last month, you and the band being the best it had ever been. Which makes it seem so unimaginable being here today. I’ve never known anyone with as much fire and energy as you or as much exhilarating passion that drove everything in the direction you pushed them. I miss you terribly. John’.

Leeroy Thornhill: ‘I was always waiting for that call, that you know the car crash or motorbike accident or something like that. He was always going to go out with a bang. I guess he chose his moment. I want people to remember Keith, not just the Firestarter. He will always be Keith or Flinty to me. He’s not a song title, just Keith. To me he was always a superstar before he had the haircut. The hardest thing is that I’m not going to see him again. I’m just blessed to have had him in my life. From the moment I met Keith, he shone. A man of kindness and intelligent in ways that he didn’t even see. A visionary. He always had a picture in his head. He was an achiever. And when he set his heart to something, he would do it. An inspiration who helped so many people on this planet on their journey through life. The funniest person I ever met. I will cherish the hours I cried in laughter with him. Our lives are now missing his spark. But he lit up the world and will shine forever. Miss you, my brother. Leeroy’.

Maxim: ‘You were a person who always lit up the room. When you sensed a person feeling uncomfortable, you made them feel comfortable with your wit and your humour. You expressed yourself with music in a way that nobody could deny the feeling of love and joy you shared with us all. You were definitely enigmatic and one of a kind. You lived for excitement and danger on and off the stage. And everything you did was full on. 100%. Performing with you is a feeling I will always cherish. I will miss you bro. All the low times, the laughter and fun times we had together. But your memory will never die. As it’s imprinted in many hearts worldwide and stories will be told about you forever. Rest in peace, Maxim’.

And finally, this from Liam.

Keith was always brutally honest. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He said to me once, ‘When the time comes, I’m not afraid to press the button’. Keith, you were a man of the people. A man of integrity. A man of style. Originality. And fearless self-expression. The realist motherfucker. An atmosphere hoover when you wanted to be. A gear hoover when you wanted to be. You liked to live your life on the razor’s edge for the buzz. You were an anti-star. A true pirate. And committed to our cause of shaking people’s souls and shaking the foundations of buildings without shoes. My beats will never stop rolling for you. Our bond was so strong and unbreakable. You will never leave my heart, my loyal friend to the end. I miss you. Good night, dear brother. Fly high. Liam.

During the day, the mood swung from wild raving to moments of respectful silence and others of hilarity as stories of Keith Flint’s life were told. Some sobbed, others sang along to the music. Raise the roof!

Written by: Martin Roach
Read by: Paul Kaye, 29 March 2019
Transcript by: Split (All Souvenirs)

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