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Casey Spooner arrives at a recent photo shoot looking shockingly normal. Wearing jeans, suede work boots, a faded black leather jacket and Borsalino hat, the co-founder of electro-pop music and performance art project, Fischerspooner, betrayed no traces of the glitter, sequins, hair color and Spandex that have figured into his onstage style.
These days, both Spooner’s look and his music have been streamlined.
“It’s a big departure from how a lot of people see me,” says the 40-year-old Athens, Ga., native, whose debut solo album, “Adult Contemporary,” features Marina Abramovic and Scissor Sisters’ front man Jake Shears. The album, which will be released Tuesday, came together last year almost by accident toward the end of work on Fischerspooner’s “Entertainment” album when record producer Jeff Saltzman, who’s worked with Blondie and The Killers, asked Spooner to record a song for his new project.
“In two hours, I wrote the lyrics and melody for an entire song,” Spooner says. “Slowly [Jeff] stopped calling it ‘his’ record and started calling it ‘my’ record. It was a little bit of a surprise and I felt like he tricked me a little bit.”
Still, making the album was an epiphany. While “Entertainment” took two years to complete, Spooner wrote and recorded the 15 songs on “Adult Contemporary” in five weeks.
“It was personal and poetic,” he says. “Fischerspooner is lyrical, visual and performance-oriented. Aesthetically, everything adds up to one big idea. It was so refreshing to toss off songs. It was almost stream of consciousness.”
The song “Faye Dunaway,” for example, was inspired by a dream in which the actress watches a toilet overflow in her lavish dressing room and destroys a Terence Koh artwork lying on the floor.
“The whole song is a portrait of modern sexuality,” he explains, a bit mysteriously.
Koh isn’t the only one of Spooner’s art-world friends to figure somehow into the album. Abramovic’s strong Slavic accent can be heard on “Spirit Cooking.”
Though he’s striking out on his own, Spooner lays to rest worries that he and Fischerspooner partner Warren Fischer will disband. “We’ve been kicking around a lot of ideas,” he says. “Warren and I understand that we both need to have creative outlets outside the Fischerspooner project.”
He’s at no loss for outlets. He stretched his acting muscles in a stint as Laertes in the Wooster Group’s production of “Hamlet,” for example.
And Spooner is in line to try out yet another medium. In the fall, he’ll host a new talk show, “U DNT KNOW” on AEG-TV. “I’m feeling very drawn to film and TV,” he says. “I want to write a TV series set on a resort. It will be very fashion-driven.” Spooner’s own wardrobe, which includes custom pieces by Stefano Pilati and Ricardo Tisci, has inspired him to revive a collection of “beautiful, interesting sportswear” he began designing in 2005.
“I feel a little misunderstood,” he says. “I worked exclusively on Fischerspooner for nearly a decade and it made me kind of crazy. I learned that being a renaissance man is what I’m supposed to do.”