Glenn “SPOT” Lockett, the trailblazing punk producer behind SST Records and artistic statements by the likes of Hüsker Dü and Black Flag, has died at 72. The influential engineer had been battling fibrosis before he suffered a stroke several months earlier and ultimately passed away on Saturday at a healthcare facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Former SST Records co-owner Joe Carducci broke the news of Lockett’s death in a statement via Facebook, sharing that “his nurse told me he woke up alright but later showed no pulse and several attempts to revive him failed.” He noted the producer’s preferred name spelling “in all caps with a dot in the middle of the O” and called him “an architect of the natural approach to recording a band in the punk era.”
Carducci hailed Lockett for taking “the primacy of live jazz playing into recording bands against prevailing attempts to soften or industrialize a back-to-basics arts movement in sound.” He also added that “in recent weeks I read off lists of the names of his well-wishers to him and SPOT nodded at the mentions of his friends from around the country and the world.”
Glenn Michael Lockett was born in Los Angeles on July 1st, 1951 and embedded himself in the budding local punk scene as a journalist, musician, and photographer. After sparking up a friendship with Black Flag’s Gren Ginn, “SPOT” joined the nascent SST Records by producing the band’s 1980 EP, Jealous Again.
Over six years, Lockett contributed to the indie punk label’s ’80s heyday with genre-defining releases including Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade, Black Flag’s Damaged, Descendents’ Milo Goes To College, Meat Puppets’ self-titled debut and The Misfits’ Die Die My Darling. He also developed and honed new acts, handling debut albums for Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Saint Vitus, and Saccharine Trust.
Lockett left SST in 1986 and spent subsequent years writing and photographing. He published the photo book Sounds of Two Eyes Opening in 2014, and released a novel, titled Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization, in 2019. He also unveiled two full-length music projects at the end of 2022 via Bandcamp.
Reactions from SPOT’s past collaborators began to spill out on Saturday, starting with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt who shared via Twitter: “We just lost my old buddy spotski, a terrible blow. he recorded the minutemen’s first stuff, I go way back w/this man.” In the comments, M. Ward added that he was “happy to have met the man who helped make so many of my favorite sst recorded moments – his work is gonna live forever.”
Elsewhere, Hüsker Dü guitarist Bob Mould thanked Lockett for being “a wonderful soul who loved making music, documenting the scene, and unconditionally supporting all the projects that bear his name” and also recalled their last interaction involving a game of ping-pong in 1996.
Meanwhile, Steve Albini praised Lockett as “the archetype scene recording guy, the guy we all emulated and whose role we tried to play.” Read more statements and recollections below.
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. pic.twitter.com/8Ibn0JrakQAdvertisement
— mike watt (@wattfrompedro) March 4, 2023
rip spot – big heart – a beautiful mind – it was many years ago we spoke for awhile at a fIREHOSE show about music and life – happy to have met the man who helped make so many of my favorite sst recorded moments – his work is gonna live forever
— M. Ward (@mwardtweeting) March 5, 2023
From 1982 to 1984, Hüsker Dü recorded four projects with SPOT. We worked at Total Access in Redondo Beach CA, mostly during the discounted overnight hours. SPOT always encouraged free expression and experimentation, even as those recordings were made as expeditiously as possible.
— Bob Mould (@bobmouldmusic) March 5, 2023
Every music scene needed someone to document it, someone with no agenda, an open mind and hot mics. SPʘT was the archetype scene recording guy, the guy we all emulated and whose role we tried to play. For a while there half the records I bought had his name on them.
— steve albini (@electricalWSOP) March 4, 2023
RIP Spot. He recorded iconic LPs by Black Flag, Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Descendents, Meat Puppets and the Misfits, among many others. He was also an excellent critic, photographer and musician. But most importantly, a lot of people loved him.
(photo: Photobill/Bill Daniel) pic.twitter.com/yCIEK4qeOD
— Michael Azerrad (@michaelazerrad) March 4, 2023