Glenn “Spot” Lockett, the incredibly influential and prolific producer behind many of the most well-regarded and important punk records of all time, has passed away at the age of 72.
During the 1980s, Spot’s work as an engineer on much of the early SST Records catalog helped define the sound of the burgeoning American hardcore movement. He is responsible for classic records from bands such as Black Flag’s Jealous Again, My War, Damage, and Slip It In, Hüsker Dü’s Everything Falls Apart, Metal Circus, Zen Arcade, and New Day Rising, and Misfits‘ Earth A.D./Wolf’s Blood.
According to former SST co-owner Joe Carducci, Spot had become hospitalized after a recent stroke. He had been on oxygen since 2021 after his lung functions were damaged by fibrosis.
In a statement via Facebook, Carducci writes:
“I hate to type out the words but… SPOT passed away after 10am today/Saturday (Mar. 4, 2023) at Morningside Healthcare in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He had cancelled a planned photography exhibit in late 2021 when he found his fibrosis began to impair lung function. Since then he’d been on oxygen and was hoping for a lung transplant, but a stroke about three months ago put him in the hospital. I was hoping he was recovering speech but realistically he was not likely at his age and condition to become a candidate for a lung transplant.”
Regarding Spot’s personal history, Carducci says:
“SPOT didn’t dwell a lot on his personal history but I believe he was born in Los Angeles, grew up in the Crenshaw neighborhood, moved to Hermosa Beach in the mid-70s, moved to his favorite Black Flag tour stop, Austin Texas, in the mid-80s and then to Sheboygan to be near his favorite Celtic music scenes in Milwaukee and Chicago. His father was Claybourne Lockett who was a Tuskegee Airman who flew British Spitfires and Spot told me once his mother was Native American and from New Orleans. His older sister has advanced dementia. SPOT was a musician and writer and photographer who spelled his name in all caps with a dot in the middle of the O. His principal sideline was as a record producer-engineer and an architect of the natural approach to recording a band in the punk era.”
Elaborating on Spot’s production techniques, he adds:
“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!’ His recorded work as player and producer is listed at discogs.com. I’ll be going through his writing with an eye toward publishing a collection including his writings on jazz for the Hermosa Beach free weekly. He spent recent years writing the novel, Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization, and producing a radio-like dramatization of it which is online. Last year he posted new SPOT music.”
Outside of his sonic contributions to punk, Spot was also an esteemed photographer. Sounds of Two Eyes Opening, his photo book about California skate culture, was released in 2014.