Russell Senior

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Russell Senior
Birth nameRussel Senior
Born (1961-05-18) 18 May 1961 (age 58)
Sheffield, England
GenresAlternative rock, post-punk, Britpop, indie rock, indie pop, art rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, violin, vocals
Years active1978–present
Associated actsPulp

Russell Senior (born 18 May 1961) is the guitarist and violinist of the band Pulp.

Senior was born and grew up in Sheffield. Whilst at University in Bath,[1] he formed the "Dada Society" (also known as the "New Wave Society") and appeared as the lead role in a dramatic adaptation of Kafka's The Trial. He also had a band called The Bath Bankers and arranged for a gig at the University featuring his friends from Sheffield - Pulp. He obtained a 2.1 honours degree in Business Administration, and went back to Sheffield to join Pulp. During the Miner's strike of 1984 he was a flying picket, taking part in industrial action including the Battle of Orgreave.[2]


Senior first met Pulp in 1980 when he reviewed a show of theirs for his fanzine, also called The Bath Banker. He joined the third line-up of the band in 1983, the other members being Jarvis Cocker (vocals/guitar), Magnus Doyle (drums) and Peter Mansell (bass). During the mid-1980s he was a central member of the group, often taking vocal duties. He also played the violin on a number of tracks.[3]

In the earlier days of the band, Senior wrote lyrics and/or provided vocals for a number of songs such as "Fairground" and "Anorexic Beauty" on Freaks and "This House is Condemned" on Separations.

As the band became successful, Senior became dissatisfied with the touring, recording and publicity treadmill the band found themselves on after their long-awaited success, and on 20 January 1997 he left Pulp to work on other projects.[4] He commented that he did not like the Cocker-led song "Help the Aged", and that he didn't feel it was a worthy follow-up to "Common People", and so deliberately tried to sabotage it in the studio.[5] Soon afterwards, feeling his unhappiness was leading the atmosphere in the band to become poisonous, he told Cocker he was quitting.[5] In an interview he said that "I was very proud of being in Pulp. I thought it was the best band in the world when I was in it, but I want to be able to move on from it at some point."[6]

In 2010 he revealed he was still friendly with his old band members, and said he left in 1997 because, "I liked the idea of ending on a high, I didn't want to slowly fade away."[2]

In November 2010, it was announced that Pulp were to reform and play live in 2011, which included Russell Senior in the line-up.[7][8] He has however not continued with the band for their 2012 tour.

In October 2015, Senior released his first book, Freak Out the Squares: Life in a Band Called Pulp. Within the book, Senior recalls stories of the band's earlier days, their rise to fame and his decision to leave. Alongside this, he gives personal recounts and diary entries of the reunion tour, and the toll it takes on him and his fellow band members. The book released to positive reviews, with an overall of 4/5 on Goodreads.

Other work[edit]

In 1999 he formed Venini with Debbie Lime (vocals), Nick Eastwood (bass - later with Dolly TV and Hiem), Bob Barton (drums - later with The Human League), and Danny Hunt (keyboards - later with Ladytron).[9] They released three singles before splitting in 2000.

Russell has also worked as a producer with Baby Birkin and more recently The Long Blondes.[10] In March 2006, British indie band Art Brut invited Russell Senior to produce their second album.

He has co-written a musical about the 1980s miners strike, Two Tribes, with Ralph Parmar (DJ Ralph Razor).[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

He continues to live in Sheffield with his girlfriend and has two children.[4] Aside from the music world he is also a dealer in antique glassware.[5]


  1. ^ "Bath University, School of Management". The Independent. London, UK. 12 December 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Discord of the miners' strike influenced a musical journey". The Yorkshire Post. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Interviews: Venini".
  4. ^ a b "Russell Senior". Acrylic Afternoons. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Simpson, Dave (2 June 2009). "The ones that got away". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Interview: Venini". musicOMH. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Pulp Is Reuniting!". Perez Hilton. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  8. ^ Swash, Rosie (8 November 2010). "Pulp reunite for live dates in 2011". The Guardian (UK).
  9. ^ "Senior back in service". New Musical Express. 27 April 1999. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Russell Senior Discography". Discogs. 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  11. ^ Lawson, Helen (20 January 2012). "Russell Senior behind plans to bring 1980s miners' strike to the Sheffield stage as musical". The Stool Pigeon. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  12. ^ "Two Tribes - The Miner' Strike Musical". 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.