TIR 90: Mark Lockett Tells How The Reddings Rocked It in the Pocket

Mark Lockett (left) with the Redding brothers.


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on THE ONE: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in TIR Episode 90 (2 Parts): An original member of the terrific 1980s funk-soul band The Reddings — singer-drummer-keyboardist-composer Mark Lockett. Having already notched a disco-era hit under his own name in the late 1970s, Lockett joined forces with the teenage sons of soul legend Otis Redding Jr. — bassist-singer Dexter Redding and his younger brother guitarist Otis Redding III. The trio exploded onto the scene in 1980 with their debut album The Awakening, which included the smash R&B hit single “Remote Control,” along with the thunderous instrumental title track. The group would go on to release six albums with the final one dropping in 1988.

Notable and hit songs from the period included “Class (Is What You Got),” “Main Nerve,” “Hurt’s So Bad,” “Love Dance,” “You’re the One,” “I Know You Got Another,” the remake “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay,” “Back to Basics,” “Hand Dance,” “Who You Think You’re Messing With,” “In My Pants” and the ballad “Where Did Our Love Go” — both with Cameo’s Larry Blackmon and Charlie Singleton, “So in Love With You” and their final sizeable hit “Call the Law.”

Although they notched five top 40 R&B hits, their albums and tracks are much stronger than that would indicate as after their debut The Reddings did not really get the promotional push of which they were so deserving. Funk fans in particular will find much to latch onto as Dexter Redding’s prominent bass plucking was a consistent element throughout their catalog. The group toured with most of the top funk and R&B acts of that period, including Rick James and Ashford & Simpson, and band members collaborated in the studio with fellow funkateers like Tyrone Brunson. The fierce bass-drum attack of “The Awakening” captured the attention of Primus bass virtuoso Les Claypool, who adopted it as a live showcase and also rerecorded the cut.

While the Reddings essentially retired from commercial music making, Lockett went on to work with a variety of bands and musicians and has remained active to this day. In this in-depth interview, he reveals the full Reddings story, why he has forever been driven to prove himself, his love for the stage and performing, his subsequent projects up to present day, and why funk has always been a way of life for him.