I just got an email from my friend Spot - he's giving up his Compuserve account after about eight years. There aren't many of us left. Who is Spot, you may ask? Besides being a fascinating and eclectic musician in his own right, he's only one of the greatest punk producers of all time - that's all.
Spot produced the cream of red-blooded American punk in the late '70s and
early '80s - in particular bands affiliated with the archetypal SoCal indie label
SST (and its affiliate New Alliance) including Black Flag, Descendants, Husker
Du, Meat Puppets, and Minutemen. With the punk movement grown stale by the
mid '80s, Spot followed his own eccentric muse to Austin, Texas, where he has
carved out a career as a multi-instrumentalist performing traditional Celtic music
blended with Zappa-and-Zorn art noise.
Spot was born Glen Lockett in the Crenshaw area of L.A. in the early '50s. His
musical taste was formed by the eclecticism of AM Top 40 radio from the late '50s through the mid '60s. "I listened to everything. We would sing Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, and Roger Miller in the schoolyard. The first record I ever
bought was 'Washington Square' by the Village Stompers in '63. I got my first
guitar for Christmas in '63, a Silvertone acoustic. I worked on guitar for a while,
then started playing the drums and ended up in my first band with some classmates in the 8th grade," he recalls.
"I didn't study much in school because I knew I wanted to do music. After I had to return my rented drums, I went back to guitar and learned to play mostly from the radio and records. The psychedelic era came in and I really liked that. It was new and really good music to listen to when you were depressed. I didn't have that much of a social life - 'the music was my only friend,' to paraphrase the Doors - so naturally when you hear something like that you think, 'Oh my God, someone knows what I'm going through,'" he sighs.
"It was real problematic to put together a band that would do anything other than covers in those days. I was always trying to put something together to do my own stuff, but I never really had that chance in the '60s and '70s. I ended up being one of these bums out in the street in Hollywood playing music for change so I could eat. For a certain part of my life I was more or less homeless. When I had a place to live, I would sit in my house all day and play and write.