"...shall we never outdistance our dancing days."


While he wound up dying on terms cruelly dictated by lung disease and a debilitating stroke, SPOT lived the preceding seven decades on terms so wholly his own that attempting to find an appropriate set of adjectives would, without a doubt, prove insufficient. Let's just say the whole thing was gelatinous.

SPOT is SPOT.  When this phrase is uttered among the man's friends, an up-and-down head shake or a monosyllabic "yup" is the expected and customary reply. In these utterances, the tone may run the gamut from delighted amusement to amused bewilderment to bewildered frustration, but the meaning is fully understood: SPOT did things his way, always, whether you or anyone else understood or approved.


Sheboygan? He liked the way the name sounded, that much I know. As SPOT would have me believe, that impetus was second only to a weariness of "new Austin", a notion familiar to anyone who's lived here longer than a few years. He'd most definitely put in his time. SPOT was looking for a "writer's cabin" fresh-start and so Sheboygan would be his Walden Pond. There were also Irish and Celtic music fests not far south. That was around 2012.

Following a disturbing phone conversation (SPOT was having trouble coming up with words) last summer, I visited Sheboygan for the first time since he moved there a decade ago. SPOT had spoken regularly of his friends Teek and Jazz Bill and a coffee house which he haunted in his healthier days, as was his wont. I decided to stop by Weather Center, said coffee house. What was immediately apparent to me — having been immersed in SPOT's 70s photography — was that the place looked familiar, despite being impossibly far away in both time and space from The Strand in Hermosa Beach, way back when. Suddenly, Sheboygan made much more sense. Sure as shit, people surf in Lake Michigan.


He was born with two N's (Glenn) but eventually (and legally) excised one of 'em (Glen). When I asked him about the spelling years ago, he said it was a long story (read: you're buggin' me, kid) but that basically he was fixing an error. I left it at that, like so many things with SPOT.


"To make a long story short, I was real bad at sports, and some people talked me into playing softball with them. They put me out in left field and I caught this high pop-fly that somehow miraculously went into my glove, rather than into my forehead. I saved the day and somebody, a friend of mine, just dubbed me 'my dog SPOT' and it stuck." As to his pre-SPOT identity, he says, "I was someone else originally."

Photo and excerpt from a Daily Texan piece published 4/83 while SPOT was in Austin recording the Big Boys.


Over the summer, I began work on Herb Wrede's negatives (and, it turns out, Al Flipside's negatives). Scans completed, Trudie and KK and myself began picking favorites to include in a forthcoming book. As I attempted to whittle down Germs pics (anyone who knows me knows I'd simply prefer to include ALL of 'em), I nearly jumped out of my skin when a photo of Pat Smear at the Fleetwood popped onto my screen. In the foreground of the frame was a familiar profile, and I knew exactly which images the photographer up against the stage was capturing. I excitedly texted this to SPOT. That was June 27th. I was surprised to receive no reply. The radio silence would prove to be a turning point...


When I called SPOT the next day, it didn't take long to notice he was having trouble conjuring basic words (e.g. "air conditioner"). After a few minutes, I said bluntly: "SPOT, there's something wrong with you." He assured me it was just a hot day and that he was just tired. He mentioned a local woman who was helping him with some benefits and so I asked for her number. After a brief conversation, she insisted on calling in a "welfare check", which resulted in a cop showing up at SPOT's place. Cops showing up unannounced at a black guy's place seemed like a nightmare in the making, but the officer proved to be sympathetic and helpful, setting up a fan in the window to get more air circulating. I booked a flight to Milwaukee. Six days later, I saw SPOT's Sheboygan digs for the first time.