Planet Sound Teletext Interview, 31 July 1999

Russell Senior, one-time guitarist in Pulp, who upped and left Sheffield's most famous stars for a life away from music, is back.

In the space of two years, he has changed his mind and so now makes a welcome return to the music scene, this time with Venini.

"I can't not do music," he says. "It just goes in my head all the time and annoys me, and so that's why I decided to start off again . . . with Venini."

They've been called a glam T-Rex meets Blondie mixed with a bit of Roxy Music, but how do Russell Senior's new band Venini compare to Pulp?

"With Pulp I was the slice of lemon in their gin and tonic. Now this is a rum and coke but I'm still the slice of lemon."

Venini do have the same pop undertones as Pulp. Was this inevitable? "I wanted us to be more cool and underground, but our singer loves pop!"

Venini are a five-piece from Sheffield and though Rusell is their most famous member it is singer Debbie who creates the most fuss.

"Well she's like Debbie Harry and she is the lyricist who writes in French and Russian . . . she has to be seen on stage.

"In fact, at one gig there was a crowd of fans waiting for us. They ignored me and mobbed the rest of the band. OK, the ego was bruised," he laughs.

Russell Senior might have turned his back on life with Pulp but is he still friends with Jarvis Cocker and the mob?

"Oh yes, both Jarvis and Mark were at our recent London gig. We are still good friends and I even stay at his house when I'm in London."

Russell has no regrets about leaving one of Britain's biggest bands to start all over again at the bottom rung of the ladder.

Russell and Venini are enjoying their live shows more and more. The size of the venues may be smaller than they were with Pulp, but how do their fans compare?

"Well, some are similar, but Venini have some obsessives of their own. One fan even asks us to send him wet tissues - I'm not sure about that one," laughs Russell.

A single, Mon Camion, is out soon, so watch out for Venini, that's a warning!

Andy Panos