|Photos by Roe Etheridge|
Fischerspooner, the highfalutin high-art grifters from New York City, are invading Los Angeles, and they’re determined to rip us a new asshole. What is Fischerspooner, you ask? That’s a hard one. They aren’t really a rock band in any traditional sense; the only groups you might compare them to are the theatrical Tubes or the Residents, only Fischerspooner have better production values. (You would too if Levi’s Vintage Clothing were your corporate sponsor and if you were represented by the Manhattan art-star sweatshop Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.) Formally, Fischerspooner are a musical collective headed by co-founders Warren Fischer, composer, and Casey Spooner, lyrics. The core creative group consists of vocalists Lizzy Yoder and Cindy Greene; choreographer Jordana Toback; dancers Vanessa Walters, Mindi McAlister and Ariana Pistilli; coiffeur Jeff Francis; makeup artist Angela DiCarlo; attendant-cum-sidekick and general onstage cutup Jeremiah Clancy, a.k.a. “Peanuts”; and the group’s own imperial CIO (chief information officer), Kent William Albin. After oodles of e-mails, phone calls and a satellite hookup (I’m not kidding), I felt like I had been communicating with an army.
L.A. WEEKLY: Fischerspooner couldn’t have come on the scene at a better time. You don’t realize how much the world needs you right now.
CASEY SPOONER: People want to think, and are looking for something other than constant change. We tear through the layers of artifice and see what is really happening. We offer the chance to think and feel and respond and share. We’re providing people with that ritual.
Are you the immaculate children of a lesser god?
MINDI McALISTER: No. Psalm 40, verse 3-4 states: “He drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the ä swamp; He set my feet upon a crag; He made firm my steps. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God.”
SPOONER: This project has taught us all a lot about spirituality. A new, sexy spirituality is on the horizon. We are in search of that transcendent ecstasy. An ecstasy that is pure and truly human.
Are you excited about your L.A. debut?
LIZZY YODER: YESSSS!!!!! I can’t wait to hate L.A.!!! I’ve never been there, and I love to hate it already!!!
SPOONER: I’m mostly excited about the audience. I really hope that people come from the entertainment industry. I want to show them what they’ve done to me. This is my revenge, and they will pay dearly for infecting me with their illusions.
As a performer, Casey, you’re very childlike. Where did you get your wonder and awe?
SPOONER: I’m a big baby. I love to cry.
I like the simple, chantlike quality of the songs, and the lyrics. Very cerebral. You let us fill in the blanks.
SPOONER: Warren yells at me for not writing more words sometimes. I just can’t. I’m not a writer.
It’s incredible how you morph into so many different creatures. You have the perfect little face.
SPOONER: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I am so many beasts.
Are you anti-naturalists?
SPOONER: Actually, the styling and hair and makeup and lyrics often directly reference forms of nature. It’s universal, and a great tool that all disciplines can be informed by. It’s better than thinking in terms of trends. That is a dead end and leaves you feeling panicked.
I agree. People who see FS mistake you for ’80s retro.
SPOONER: I’m not thinking about the ’80s. I was in the South, living a Ralph Lauren country-club lifestyle in the ’80s. I hate nostalgia. It’s a lie and a one-dimensional perception of the past.
I love how your performances and music don’t follow a linear progression. It’s all freeform.
SPOONER: It has to be. Form follows function. We’re hanging on by the skin of our teeth. If we fuck up, it’s okay.
Have you ever seen those Indian film musicals? They’ve kept up the tradition of MGM during its glory days. I see Fischerspooner bringing back the Hollywood musical as a staple.
SPOONER: Yes!!!!!! I can’t wait. The secret finale to FS is to finish with a musical made in Dollywood. To indulge so deeply that we may be able to understand our collective desires. Or to not ask why. To enjoy. To celebrate.
We would much rather be doing other things, but now we have to drag this show around the fucking world because everyone thinks it’s so great. It’s a gilded dog-and-pony cage. I also want to sell the live show to art collectors and perform it privately. It would be fun to franchise the show out. It might really fuck up the ideas of touring shows. We never do anything right or twice. How could anyone ever replicate that? They couldn’t.
Is Fischerspooner a modern-day minstrel show?
YODER: Menstrual is more like it — we’re always on the rag.
Fischerspooner perform at the Standard, 550 S. Flower St., downtown, Thursday through Saturday, March 1 through 3; four performances nightly, 8 to 11 p.m.; prelude 7 to 8 p.m.; free to the public, but a reservation is required. Call (213) 253-0511.