Me and you and a dog named Blue: our 2004 Steve Burns profile of Blue Cluj

This article was originally published in the February 200 issue Spin. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the 1999 Fleming Lips album Soft bulletin, We’re republishing here.

1 One spring afternoon in 1999, Steve Burns was on his way to a date. He was driving through New Jersey, battling the jolts, priming into the rear view, when something caught his eye on the side of the road: a mailbox with a bunch of blue cartoons and a message that read: “You’ve found Jonathan’s birthday!” Although most rock singers Moving away from such fleeting descriptions, Burns was recognized by them as a symbol revered by millions of Americans রা Americans four feet tall and with Steve Burns on the basis of first names.

“It simply came to our notice then Blue clue The party, ”says Burns, who was actually the organizer Blue clue, The most popular children’s show in the history of television. After a recent charity appearance, he looked at the toys and props in his car. Khaki pants. Iconic green and olive-striped rugby shirt.

“I have to do it,” he said.

“She met her date, changed clothes, and went back to the party.” We just showed up with toys and knocked on the door, “Burns says. The 30-year-old was sipping late at a little airy Brooklyn cafe.” I was like, ‘Hey!’ “A worldwide favorite among his narrow-mouthed face and big, dark-eyed perfectly stretched character. Who is Jonathan? The kids were, ‘Cool! Steve is here!’ I sit quietly for.

Finally, I asked how the date went.

PFFT, ”He said, jokingly, with ridicule. “Are you kidding?”

* * *

Some lives are really fairy tales. The boy moves to New York to find his fortune, couch-surfing, trying to get into acting. Lands gets the voice-over gig (“1-800-collect,” Burns Parkley recitation), Laws and orders Introduction (“I was autistic and died”). Band checks out, new CD peeps. Then shows up for an audition at Nickelodeon.

Lucky you know how these moments go. You go to a job interview, fill out an application, and the next thing you know, you’re acting with a blue dog made with feelings on a hit show. Burns is sure he never saw it coming. He grew up in rural Pennsylvania, playing the guitar, writing songs, and jamming on David Bowie in a friend’s cattle pasture. After receiving an acting scholarship to a nearby college, he joined a band called Nine Pound Truck, but soon left it with the school. Within a few months, he was standing in the Nickelodeon office, playing badly advised stables, long hair and earrings.

“I thought it was a voice-over audition,” Burns recalls. “And it wasn’t. So I thought I’d start jumping around.” It was, in many ways, born. Blue clue.

Blue clue, Whether you live in a cave or are over five years old, this is a unique interactive show, featuring an animated blue puppy named Blue and a very energetic human host. In each episode, Blue Host and the audience leave a puzzle to solve together. Wandering around an indecently presented home in a blue-screen background, the host finds a mark marked by a paw print. He often misses obvious things, then looks pleasantly at the camera for help.

Here, there is a kind of kids-TV gold. Shortly after its debut in 1996, the Blue Clujes were dazzling Sesame road And Barney & Friends In ratings (viewed by more than eight million viewers a week), and finally, children are screaming for answers in six languages ​​and 600 countries. Inside Tipping point, A 2000 study of how ideas and trends spread, author Malcolm Gladwell positive Blue clue Perhaps the “Sticktest” – meaning the most irresistible and involved – is the television show. While it had a lot to do with the cute child psychology of the format, it had quite a bit to do with Steve Burns.

Initially, the network suits were not worried about 22-year-olds. We’re not putting the skate-rock boy in Nickelodeon, “Burns reported. But preschool exam spectators were vocal in their support. “Obviously, it was really clear that I was the one talking to the kids,” Burns said. “It simply came to our notice then. They were talking [to the screen]. It was Rocky Horror Children’s Show. ”Traci Paige Johnson, executive producer and co-creator Blue clue, Says that what made Burns a great children’s organizer is that “he didn’t want to be a children’s organizer. Of the 100 people we auditioned, he was a realist. He liked kids, but he didn’t want to build a career out of it. ”

Yet career is what he got. As the show blew up, Burns became a stranger, Clark Kent একজন a public figure সুপার a superstar to kids and parents, unknown to everyone else. He was so immersed in clues and kids’ virtual reality that five years later he noticed that rugby shirts (made from hand-made fur and edged after a stick of fruit stripe wheat) had begun.

“Acting on a blue screen is awesome,” Burns says. “Ask [Star Wars: Episode I and II star] Evan McGregor – and he had a dwarf and what not to act with … I was in a place where I do it forever and who I make it, or I do other exciting things.

Here, if possible, the story becomes more of a fairy tale. Burns left in January 2001 Blue clue, Left those safe, highly profitable two dimensions, and returned anonymously to real life. His departure was so shocking that it sparked rumors that he had died in a car wreck or a heroin overdose. The turning point was significant. Burns went to a party in New York and heard a record for the first time – The Fleming Lips 1 album Soft bulletin. “[It rearranged] My head is burning, ”he said. “I mean, I didn’t get a response like the record, oh, I don’t know. Just pssssshoo. ”

Indeed, countless studies – mostly informal, involving many bongs – have isolated a powerful quality. Soft bulletin, Something that bypasses all critical faculties, turning Spielbergian frustration into the agonizing amazement of the audience. Maybe it’s the trembling weakness of Wayne Quinn’s voice or the way the band’s heroic scientist and atom-age love story hits our inner kindergartener bypassing 90s criticism.

Whatever it was, Burns was uniquely weak. “Just before that, I was on Radiohead,” he says. “But that’s it Dark. And just then I needed something optimistic. ”That night at the party, he got it. He had enough time to find the host and ask for the title of the CD. Soon, he got a Pro Tools audio program and started writing songs – lots of songs. “It was, ‘Wooooaaaaa, ” Burns said, mimicking a large creative vomit. “I was literally doing nothing but talking to an object made of feeling. For six years! There’s this weird creative constipation going on. ”

When you write 35 songs in one burst, Something Running. Call it “force”, channel your spiritual energy – from scientists to God-thankful rappers everyone talks about it. But a particularly sweet melodic affair flows through the 12 tracks of Burns’ debut, Songs for Dustmites.

The album begins with the mug-and-powered “Mighty Little Man”, an image of a lonely man in a room struggling to draw magic from a small machine আবিষ্কার an invention that comes to life. The song was inspired by inventor Thomas Edison, whose own DIY projects changed human history. “I wanted to write a positive, powerful wonderful point of a song,” Burns said. Less winning emotions are also expressed. “What I do on Saturday,” Burns began to sigh as he sang, “I’m a boring example of everyone else.”

In the gorgeous “troposphere” he looks out the window of a plane, thinking only of the gaseous limbo he entered – the space between the earth and the thin air, where the weather happens and no man survives long. “Have you ever been so tired of yourself?” And so on.

* * *

“Music is my life – acting is just a hobby.”

So Shawn Cassidy, “The Du Ron Ron” and other infamous people talked about getting in the way. The list goes on: Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, William Shutter, Leonard Nimoy – these and other deceitful actor singers are featured primarily as a board game cartoon featuring promotional material on Burns’ album. At the moment, a version of her is spread out on the kitchen table in her mansion, a designated smooth cage in the Hout-Boho Brooklyn neighborhood called Dumbo. In the soft glimpse of retired light, he showed me the starting point of the game’s swamp puzzle: “Extremely aggressively successful entertainment property for children.” From here, Steve’s character points to past problems like “Prague Rock Bug” and “Yeah Old Vanity Project Fire”. He points to the finish line: “Effective recreational property for adults.”

A few months after his unexpected creative outburst, Burns Cold তার worked with his favorite producer, Dave Friedman, who worked with Mercury Rev, Magway, Sparklehorse and Fleming Lips. The producer’s cold reaction melted away when he recognized Burns’ name (Friedman had just picked one up. Blue clue Birthday party for her children) and Burns’s demo made her excited. Then, Fleming Lips joined drummer and arranger Steven Drozd, then El Lips bassist Michael Ivins, who did several session engineers. Eventually, even Wayne entered the orbit of Coin Burns. But instead of music, Cohen wanted Burns for his directed movie, which is called Christmas on Mars.

“He first told me to be a crazy man with a bottle rocket in the middle,” says Burns, who adopted a lesser-rated version of the role. While shooting at Lips Home Base in Oklahoma City, Burns captivated the band’s manager, Scott Booker, who eventually helped him sign PIAS records (Sigur Ross and Mogway’s home). Thus he entered the world of legitimate rock music.

So here stands Burns, halfway down the dangerous path of a second law. And there, in one corner of his bedroom, sits the red, stylish “Thinking Chair” – the meditative place where he sat and was distracted by the blue signal. It is currently covered with jeans, underwear, a feather, devil’s horns and a bat’s wings. Burns admits that he was asked to “do it in the chair”, but was not compelled. “I think I was having sex in front of a million parents,” he says, although he has received mash notes from “Forward-Thinking Soccer Moms”, even nude pictures, which he says are his most passionate adult fans.

If Burns became an effective recreational property for adults, und undoubtedly it would be as much due to the children’s show as it is nonetheless. “I learned really valuable lessons from the Blue Cluj,” he says. “I used to repeat them every day. ‘You To be able to Do something. You Is Smart. ” And the guy who told them he’s found a completely bizarre way to reunite with his own generation, enabled by a band whose concerts feature balloons, confetti and woolen costumes. It’s hard not to see some gentle charm at work. Wishes – especially a few million of them – can be a very powerful force.

Burns points to the small workstation where he made the most of his album. It’s right next to his bed. Just a Mac, a keyboard, a guitar and a thinking chair.

“Yeah,” he said, less sarcastic than that. “This is where the magic happens.”

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