Black History Month Profile: Glenn ‘Spot’ Lockett

As in-house producer and engineer for SST, he worked on albums from Black Flag, the Descendents, Hüsker Dü and more.

By Miles Bloxson, KUTXFebruary 19, 2024 10:15 am, , , , ,

From KUTX:

With research help from: Hasina Shah and Art Levy

Glenn Michael Lockett was born in the Los Angeles area on July 1, 1951.  Lockett’s father Claybourne was a fighter pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron in WW II, an all-Black formation that was part of the Tuskegee Airmen. Lockett lived in Hollywood, CA throughout his childhood playing multiple instruments such as the guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums, and even bagpipes.

Lockett later moved from Hollywood to Hermosa Beach in the mid-70s. During this time he also freelanced for a weekly publication called Easy Reader writing record reviews under the name “Spot.” He worked at a vegetarian restaurant called Garden of Eden, where he met Greg Ginn, his future bandmate and business partner. Glenn played with Ginn as a bassist in Ginn’s starter band Panic before beginning his career as a producer. The duo later co-founded Black Flag and Ginn started up the punk record label SST to release their music.

The name “Spot” stayed with Lockett as his music career began to thrive in the ‘80s. He became the in-house producer and engineer for SST, known for recording bands quickly and cheaply to capture the raw sound of hardcore punk. You can hear this style on recordings by Black Flag, Descendents, Meat Puppets, Minutemen, and Hüsker .

It was said by the co-owner of SST, Joe Carducci that Spot “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!’

In 1981, Spot met Tim Kerr at a Black Flag show at Raul’s in Austin. The next year, Spot worked with Kerr’s Austin-based band Big Boys on their influential album ‘Fun Fun Fun.’ In 1986 Spot left SST and moved to Austin and became a fixture of the local Gaelic music scene, often appearing at Lovejoys on Sixth Street. In his later years, he played a blend of bluegrass, jazz, punk, and Gaelic music.

Spot was more than just a musician. The producer was also a skilled rollerskater and photographer whose work depicted the West Coast punk scene and skater crowd. He published a book titled “Sounds of Two Eyes Opening” and had a showing of his photos mounted at the Pacific Coast Gallery in Hermosa Beach.

Spot moved to Wisconsin in 2008 to be closer to Gaelic music culture and died there on March 4, 2023 at the age of 71. Spot’s work in the music industry defined the sound of punk music in the U.S. His legacy as a Black creative in a predominantly white music scene changed the sound and perception of punk forever.

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