Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Joe Carducci writes of the late legendary SST Records producer-engineer SPOT

"I hate to type out the words but... SPOT passed away after 10am today/Saturday (Mar. 4, 2023) at Morningside Healthcare in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.... 

"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...  

"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. 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 at his bandcamp page. 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."

Henry Rollins in the Guardian, on Spot: 

"Spot had a very old-school way of recording: fewer microphones, less mixing, everything live, like he was cutting a Charlie Parker side. My favourite album he did is The Punch Line by Minutemen, from 1981. They were very argumentative, so Spot would go: “OK, that’s the take. Shut up,” and they were smart enough to listen.

"I’ve never met anyone like him. He would go around for days wearing roller-skates. When Black Flag recorded Damaged, Greg Ginn wanted to hear what it sounded like in the studio, so Spot picked up Greg’s guitar and while the band were playing he absolutely nailed the track Damaged II, which is like math rock. Greg was an astonishing guitarist, but he was totally shut down. It was hilarious. The chess master got checkmated."

An interview with Spot and Joe