Smuggler Beez recovering

Local musician Kevin Beesley-Hammond, aka "Beez", suffered a heart attack on the afternoon of June 4. Beesley-Hammond, who plays bass for the Smugglers and sings for the Beauticians, is expected to make a full recovery. The 42-year-old musician and part-owner of Mint Records complained of pain and numbness in his arms and chest while in the locker room at North Shore Ice Sports Arena in North Vancouver, where he had just played a hockey game with his team, the Vancouver Flying Vees. Fortunately for Beez, the Vees' roster includes a doctor, Kevin Rowan, who recognized the signs of a heart attack. Teammate Grant Lawrence, who is also a member of the Smugglers, called 911. Beesley-Hammond was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room of Lion's Gate Hospital but was taken to St. Paul's for an operation to remove a blockage from an artery. He was then transferred back to Lion's Gate where, as of press time, he is still recovering.

Lawrence told the Straight that Beesley-Hammond's heart attack came as a shock. "I've always reflected that he's the youngest 42-year-old that I've ever met," the singer and CBC Radio producer said. "All the Smugglers are generally 10 years younger than him, but he has always seemed younger than any of us. He's kind of got this weird Peter Pan-ism about him. Not a single grey hair on his head. He can play hockey-he never stretches, never does anything-and he never has any sore muscles while the rest of us are limping around." Lawrence was concerned for his friend's health but, ever the jokester, he couldn't resist bringing a little levity to the situation. "When the doctor first came out of the emergency room to talk to us, he said, 'Your friend Beez is suffering from some severe angina pain,' which is really harsh pressure in the heart. And when he finished speaking, I said to him, as deadpan as possible, 'My only question, doctor, is, where exactly is the mangina?' He just stared at me and did not get the joke or appreciate it."

Beesley-Hammond expects to be back at work in a few weeks, and is eager to rock again. His future as a weekend hockey warrior is less certain, but Lawrence predicts it will be hard to keep his long-time pal off the ice for long. Fans can send cards or letters to Mint Records, P.O. Box 3613, Vancouver, B.C., V6B 3Y6, or e-mail get-well wishes to