Scott Henderson

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This remarkably talented guitarist and recording engineer has spent most of his life on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, principally in the city of Victoria, where as of the early 2000s he had operated…
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This remarkably talented guitarist and recording engineer has spent most of his life on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, principally in the city of Victoria, where as of the early 2000s he had operated his own recording studio for two decades. He is closely associated with the Canadian West Coast punk and creative music scene, particularly the bands Nomeansno and the Day Glo Abortions. The former band established an international reputation with frequent touring and a series of critically acclaimed albums, and Henderson is an important part of the Nomeansno spinoff band called Show Business Giants, as well as being involved to a much lesser extent with the Hanson Brothers, another Nomeansno side project that is no relation with the fraternal rock band Hanson.

It makes sense that Henderson would become involved with Nomeansno, often thought of as the punk rock band with the biggest jazz fusion influence on its music, and not just because of geographical proximity. Henderson not only has indicated that jazz fusion was his first major musical influence, he is also frequently confused with another Scott Henderson, a guitarist who happens to excel at fusion and has released many recordings in this genre. A fear of mistaken identity might not be what kept the British Columbia Henderson practically chained to Vancouver Island, but something has. In one ten-year period he claims to have never left the island at all, but certainly broke out of this isolation to tour in both Europe and a few parts of the United States with Show Business Giants in the '90s.

Had it not been for a horrible accident as a teenager, this Henderson might have not had a music career at all. Although he began playing guitar at seven years old, strongly influenced by the Beatles, the background of the family was strictly military, on several sides. Henderson's father served in the Navy, while the male members of his stepdad's family had all flown in the Air Force, just what Henderson thought he would be doing up until the night a friend who was fooling around with a high-powered rifle shot Henderson in an accident, destroying one of his lungs and ten of his ribs in the process. "I'd like to think it was the best thing that ever happened to me," Henderson has said, indicating that the catastrophe caused him to change directions in life. A military career was now out of the picture, and from here he headed straight into recording and playing music, much to his family's distaste. While he learned much later in life that one of his grandfathers was an old-time fiddler and mandolin player, at the time he began his music career he had no knowledge of any musicians in his family background whatsoever.

Naming his studio the Sea of Shit, Henderson has a justly established reputation for salvaging junk equipment and creating recordings that sound much better than the $20 per hour that he charges for studio time would indicate. Nomeansno members John Wright and Tom Holliston are his partners in Show Business Giants along with the talented Ford Pier, with whom Henderson has also worked on solo projects. Henderson has also collaborated with singer Carolyn Mark in groups such as the Corn Sisters and the Vinaigrettes, posing for the latter group's CD cover wearing a dress. Henderson's own bands include Shovelhed and Hissanol, and the number of instruments he plays seems to increase annually.