Feature: “If I…” with Benny Santoro (The Venetia Fair)

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With the recent release of their latest album, ‘Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain,’ Boston-based rockers The Venetia Fair present a hybrid of jazzed-up, grandiose brand of pop rock with a subtle hardcore influence thrown in for good measure. Think early Panic! At The Disco with the occasional heavy riff.

Vocalist Benny Santoro recently took some time out to take part in our regular “If I…” questionnaire where he discussed The Blood Brothers, Tom Hanks, why he’d like to relive the bands first tour and more.

If your band would like to be featured as part of “If I…” full details can be found here.

If I could re-record one song it would be…
Benny: There are a few songs on our first album that I don’t feel ever really had a chance to be heard the way they were intended to sound so that kinda bums me out but I truthfully don’t do a lot of looking back. I feel like our best work is still ahead of us and our current offering, both from a production standpoint and in terms of songwriting and performance, blows away any of our previous releases.

If I could re-live one tour/show it would be…
Benny: Wow, I could easily make a list of tours and shows that I WOULDN’T want to relive… Our first tour was really fun and really weird because we were all so filled with excitement and optimism and everything was so new that we kept finding ourselves in really bizarre situations that we’re probably smart enough to avoid now. But, I mean, those are still our favorite stories to tell. So I guess I’d pick that tour not because I’d want to relive the situations but because of who we were to find ourselves in those situations. Its fun to be young and stupid.

If I had the chance to play one venue it would be…
Benny: I’ll answer this for Chris: “CHAIN REACTION WOOOOO HELL YEAH!”. He always yells that when people ask this. We’ve played Chain Reaction, by the way, but he did this both before and after that happened. I’ve never understood why, I mean, it’s an awesome venue for sure, but most people say like… I dunno, madison square garden or their favorite venue from when they used to go to shows as kids or something and Chris just keeps yelling about a 300 cap room across the country.

<a href=“http://thevenetiafair.bandcamp.com/album/every-sick-disgusting-thought-weve-got-in-our-brain” data-mce-href=“http://thevenetiafair.bandcamp.com/album/every-sick-disgusting-thought-weve-got-in-our-brain”>Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain by The Venetia Fair</a>

If I could play with one band it would be…
Benny: B-52s. ‘Rock Lobster’ might be the only perfect song.

If I could play with any person living or dead it would be…
Benny: I’ll answer this for Joe and say Tom Hanks. Now I know this doesn’t make any sense since I’m not sure Tom Hanks actually plays music and that’s probably what you were asking about, but Joe would really like to play anything with Tom, a board game would be fine.

If I could bring back any band that have split up, it would be…
Benny: The Blood Brothers breaking up was really the only time I’ve ever been bummed out at all by a split. Any other time I heard about a band splitting up, I always knew there was some other band waiting in the wings to fill that void but nobody sounds like The Blood Brothers and I could’ve used a few more albums before that sound and their body of work got frozen in the amber.

If I wasn’t playing music, I would be…
Benny: I try to finish this sentence every day and I haven’t even gotten close. If you’re asking what I’d be doing if I never played music I have no answer. It’s been such a defining characteristic of who I am for so long that it’s literally asking me “hey, if almost every decision you made in the last 10 years was undone what would you be doing?” I have no idea. If you’re asking what I would do if I quit music tomorrow, the answer is probably really boring.

If I could play a different genre it would be…
Benny: I can play whatever genre I want!

If I could have written any song it would be…
Benny: ‘Rock Lobster’

If I could have written any album it would be…
Benny: Ooh, good question, I can’t think of any perfect albums.

If I could headline any festival, it would be…
Benny: I’ve never been much of a festival goer but I did go to Warped Tour a lot when I was younger and then we played in 2011 and it was pretty great so I guess Warped Tour. But that’s also the only “festival” I’ve been to, so I don’t feel like I have enough information to adequately answer this question. We’ve played at SXSW a few times but I don’t think that really has “headliners” really. I mean, there are headliners for each show but not for the whole festival.

If I could organise my own festival, the bands playing would be…
Benny: It would be great if there could be a festival of bands that didn’t take themselves too seriously. Just a festival of bands making cool music without there being the arrogance and pretension that usually gets associated with “art.” All bands would admit they were entertainers using art to entertain to the best of their ability, not artists using entertainment to pay their bills so they can keep beating off (metaphorically and literally). It would be great because the bands would work together to put on the best possible show instead of focusing on “expressing themselves” and judging how everyone else chose to “express themselves.” But it wouldn’t be like some shitty ska thing, either, don’t worry guys, I know it kinda sounds like a shitty ska thing but it wouldn’t be.

If I could play any other instrument, it would be…
Benny: I’d love to be able to play piano. I’m very slowly teaching myself here and there but I would love to be able to play with confidence. A lot of people pick up an acoustic guitar to play and sing but I hate that shit, I would much rather listen to someone play piano and sing.

If I could give one piece of advice to a new band, it would be…
Benny: Be pro. Don’t put any bands so far above you that you don’t think you can compare, you’re shooting to be as good or better than the best bands in the world, not just better than that one other band from town. Hold yourself to that professional standard and don’t accept anything less.

‘Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain’ by The Venetia Fair is available now.

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