Vancouver bassist scores 'Lucky' viral hit after overcoming near-fatal illness | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vancouver bassist scores 'Lucky' viral hit after overcoming near-fatal illness

July 12, 2013 - 9:15 AM

TORONTO - Even before his homemade Daft Punk cover soared to Internet prominence, Vancouver's Jim Bennett felt he was lucky indeed — just to be alive.

The 30-year-old had been diagnosed with necrotizing pancreatitis (the sudden inflammation of the pancreas) on New Year's Day, touching off a nightmarish few months that he spent confined to a hospital bed. Unbeknownst to him, Bennett had been assessed with a mere 10 per cent chance of survival.

But he did survive. And while still immersed in the arduous process of recovery, he picked up his bass guitar and — on a whim — recorded a cover of Daft Punk's luminous summer smash "Get Lucky."

Since uploading the tune to YouTube a couple weeks ago, more than 560,000 viewers have been drawn to the clip.

"I thought, I'll record this and have a good time kind of thing ... It was just for my own amusement and for fun," said the cheerful Bennett down the line from his B.C. home.

"I had no idea it would blow up like this."

Months ago, Bennett's priorities were certainly far different.

On Dec. 31 of last year he and his girlfriend, Andrea Terpenkas, had plans to go to a friend's place but stayed home because Bennett wasn't feeling well. He only got worse overnight and a trip to the hospital and a round of X-rays ensued, along with that gloomy aforementioned diagnosis.

He was wheeled into the operating room as soon as possible, and he would stay in the hospital for almost three months. He would endure nine surgeries over that span, and by the time he was finally in recovery he would have to learn again how to walk and how to talk.

"It was the toughest two and a half months of our lives, but we made it through," he said.

Bennett, who was born in Calgary, grew up in Victoria and studied in Montreal before moving to Vancouver, had played in various funk, jazz and R&B outfits over the years but had focused on other pursuits recently, including finding work as a web designer.

But his hospital stay shifted his perspective.

"I just kind of realized how important certain things are to me in life: friends and family and music," he said. "You can chase a career and try and make a decent living and buy a house but you can't take money with you. I just really wanted to do something like music that I thought was really important to me."

He began playing bass with more frequency upon his release from hospital. Recording and editing his "Get Lucky" video took only a few hours, he said, and he plans on releasing more videos soon. He's also musing on recording an album of drum-and-bass Daft Punk covers next month, for which he's toying with the title "Daft Bass."

Beyond the nearly 10,000 "likes" from YouTube viewers, he also received flattering feedback from Chic founding guitarist Nile Rodgers, who contributed "Get Lucky"'s buoyant, silken guitar riff. After a fan sent him a link to the video, Rodgers tweeted the clip to his 76,000-plus followers with the comment: "This dude's a monster. He's chucking on the bass like Nard." (A reference to late Chic bassist Bernard Edwards).

Bennett hopes his newfound recognition translates into more opportunities in music. He's open to teaching bass locally or online through Skype, he'd love to secure session work or a touring gig and adds with a sheepish laugh: "If there's any bands out there that are looking for a bass player..."

He has a clean bill of health now but says he won't fully feel like himself until January, with some residual back pain and other aches to deal with in the meantime.

Even if further opportunities don't spring from his unlikely viral hit, Bennett says "Get Lucky" has done a lot for him.

"It's just great to have something so positive in a year that started out so bad and so rough," he said.



News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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