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Shane Henderson: Life After Valencia.

March 7, 2012

Text by Beth Ann Downey. Images by G.W. Miller III.

When Philadelphia pop-punk band Valencia announced in October that it was taking an indefinite hiatus from recording and touring, frontman Shane Henderson had one clear message for fans – he’s not done yet.

He wrote it in a statement right after the news broke and reinforced it while standing on the Electric Factory stage during the band’s farewell show in December. And from the novel that could be written about Valencia’s successes, failures and tragedies, Henderson is ready to live the next chapter – on his own terms.

“I really can’t see myself doing anything other than playing music,” he says. “So, even though Valencia’s not really on tour right now or working as a band, I wanted to just keep going and give it another shot with the songs that I have because I’m really proud of them.”

Those songs are penned under Henderson’s solo moniker, Promise of Redemption, which began as a side project and took off after a 2007 debut release, When The Flowers Bloom. The album’s somber, acoustic-based tracks were written and recorded as a tribute to Henderson’s former girlfriend, Dana Leigh Burrell, who died in a freak accident in 2006.

Though PoR started as a musical outlet to cope with his loss, Henderson says his new songs will really surprise people.

“It’s going to be somewhat like Tom Petty-meets-Valencia type of vibe,” he says. “There are somewhat rock songs, and then there are songs that are going to be just stripped-down acoustic.”

Henderson has been in the studio since January, pulling from his list of musician friends to provide contributions – including drummers Will Noon of fun. (formerly of Straylight Run) and Jay McMillan from Jack’s Mannequin.

“I’m just playing around with certain things musically in terms of instruments and styles and trying to mix in some things to see how far I can push it,” Henderson says. “When you’re in a band with four other guys who all want different things, it’s a lot of work to try and compromise on certain decisions. But for me, I can really take this wherever I want to take it, which is cool because I’ve never really had that opportunity.”

He adds that Trevor Leonard, who played guitar with Valencia in its final months, has been supportive in the studio –not only helping with writing and recording but by lending an ear and a trusted opinion.

“I rely on him to give me a fresh outlook because you can sort of get tunnel vision a lot of the time when it’s just you,” Henderson says.

Henderson plans to bring Leonard and his band, The End of America, on the road as his touring band. PoR will be tour the U.K. in May.

He hasn’t decided whether he’ll release his music himself or enlist the help of a label. He’s been getting more into producing lately and he’s interested in doing more commercial work (few know he wrote the song featured in the ad for MiO Liquid Water Enhancer).

“I’m actually just kind of looking forward to the challenge of testing myself and pushing myself to work hard,” Henderson says. “It’s all the same challenge for any band. It’s really just a matter of getting your music into people’s hands, telling them what you’re all about and hoping that they latch on to it.”

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