It’s not the first time erroneous reports of his death have made the Internet rounds, and it probably won’t be the last. But rest assured: Former “Blues Clues” star-turned indie rocker Steve Burns still has a pulse.
On Friday morning (November 2), an article MTV News had run back in 2002 (see “Ex-’Blue’s Clues’ Host Steve Burns An Indie Rocker At Heart,” ), linked from a recent question on Yahoo Answers, generated a tremendous amount of traffic, indicating that perhaps revived rumors of his death had been spread across the ether (or people never got the correct story in the first place). So we blew in a call to Burns to gauge his reaction to a rumor that’s plagued him for years.
“It’s starting to concern me,” Burns said, when reached at his Brooklyn, New York, home Friday. “I’m starting to think that maybe there’s something that people know that I don’t know … like that I’m dead! But I feel fantastic. I think I’m going to just make a Web site and actually affirm the rumor, and see if that helps. That way, I can at least die of something better than a drug overdose. I want to die in a whaling accident in Nova Scotia or something more interesting.”
Since leaving his “Blue’s Clues” hosting gig five years ago, Burns has been the focus of numerous specious rumors stemming from his departure from the children’s television series and his subsequent decision to shave his head. These have ranged from reports of terminal illness, drug addiction (and death from drug overdose) and other health problems. It’s become an urban legend the man has had to debunk over and over again.
“I think the dissonance of that is really satisfying, you know, the idea that a children’s television show host would be involved in such nefarious activities,” he said. “It’s overwhelmingly satisfying if you’re 14. But that actually is the only thing that upsets me about the rumor. I just hate the idea of ’Blue’s Clues’ being associated with anything like that. We just all worked way too hard on it. But what are you going to do?”
What Burns has been doing is working on a children’s album, Deep Sea Recovery Efforts, with his band Steve Burns and the Struggle. The group, which also features Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd and A Million Billion frontman Ryan Smith, has no firm plans yet to release the almost-finished album, and they’re currently deciding whether to release it through a label, or on their own. He’s also building a home in Brooklyn, and is planning a trip to India — all things patently impossible for a dead dude.
He’ll also play an integral role in the Lips’ upcoming feature film, “Christmas on Mars,” and shot a film last year with Saturday Night Live’s Darrell Hammond and “Kids in the Hall” alum Dave Foley, a horror-comedy called “Netherbeast Incorporated.” In it, Burns plays a vampire.
“That could be part of the rumor,” he reasoned. “I play a vampire, therefore, I’m technically undead, which I can understand why it would be confusing. I’m not dead, but I’m playing the corporate undead.”
But again, just to reiterate, Burns is very much alive.
“I’m starting to take it personally,” he said. “I guess the world would prefer that I was dead, but I’m not listening. I should really just create a Web site with my vital statistics on it. It could be live. There has to be a way I can hook up a heart monitor to my [computer], just to let people know I’m alive.”