Glen ‘SPOT’ Lockett, the in-house producer and engineer for legendary punk label SST Records, has died. The news was confirmed by former SST co-owner Joe Carducci, who revealed in a Facebook post that SPOT died at a healthcare facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He had been on oxygen in late 2021 after fibrosis had begun to impair his lung function “and was hoping for a lung transplant, but a stroke about three months ago put him in the hospital.” SPOT was 72.
Born Glen Lockett in Los Angeles in 1951, SPOT was raised by a Tuskegee Airman father who flew British Spitfires and a Native American mother. He grew up listening to a wide range of genres, from post-bepop jazz and surf rock to Motown and whatever was available on AM radio. He started playing guitar at 12, and at one point auditioned for Captain Beefheart, but it wasn’t until he helped build the Media Arts Studio in Hermosa Beach, California that he learned the ropes of recording and producing.
While waiting tables at a vegan restaurant, SPOT met Greg Ginn, who would later co-found SST Records and Black Flag. The two started jamming together in his band Panic, which eventually became Black Fag. After seeing a riot break out during an outdoor Black Flag performance, he decided he wanted to work behind the boards, producing their 1980 EP Jealous Again as well as 1981’s Damaged and 1984’s My War.
SPOT went on to work on classic records by the Minutemen (1981’s The Punch Line EP, 1983’s What Makes A Man Start Fires?, and 1983’s the Buzz or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat EP), Descendents’ (1982’s Milo Goes To College), Hüsker Dü (1983’s Everything Falls Apart and Metal Circus, 1984’s Zen Arcade), Misfits (1983’s Earth A.D. / Wolfs Blood) Saint Vitus, Meat Puppets, Big Boys, and more.
In addition to his work as a producer, SPOT was also a photographer and freelance writer. He wrote record reviews for the Los Angeles newspaper Easy Reader, and published a book of his photography titled Sounds of Two Eyes Opening in 2014.
In a 2018 interview with Easy Reader, SPOT said: “People have always asked, ‘When you’re recording a band, how do you make that moment happen?’ No, you don’t make that moment happen. You just set things in motion that will allow the thing to happen. It’s like theater I guess: Something is going to happen on that stage, but you’ve gotta make that stage invite the moment. And when it happens, you’ve got to recognize it.”
“SPOT was a musician and writer and photographer who spelled his name in all caps with a dot in the middle of the O,” Carducci wrote in his post. “His principal sideline was as a record producer-engineer and an architect of the natural approach to recording a band in the punk era. He started in Hermosa Beach playing and recording jazz and he took the primacy of live jazz playing into recording bands against prevailing attempts to soften or industrialize a back-to-basics arts movement in sound. When approaching the mixing board SPOT would assume an Elvis-like stance and then gesturing toward all the knobs he would say in a Louis Armstrong-like voice, ‘This is going to be gelatinous!’”
Mike Watt wrote on Twitter: “Good people, we just lost my old buddy Spotski, a terrible blow. He recorded the Minutemen’s first stuff, I go way back w/this man. Brother matt took this shot six years ago when Spotski came to visit our Pedro town… man, this is a terrible blow. I love you Spotski forever.”