It takes a lot of talent to replace Pete Otis

Although he won’t be able to be there to perform, songwriter and organizer Pete Otis, who’s recovering in hospital from a heart episode over the weekend, will be able to rest and relax knowing that the Purple Onion Reunion event he’s organized for this coming Sat. night, May 4, at El Mocambo is going to be yet another hugely successful and memorable show.

Pete Otis -17

Pete Otis -17

Otis, who’s been finalizing details of the event from his hospital bed this week, has been ordered to remain in the facility over the coming weekend as doctors treat him to ensure that the arrhythmia that technically killed him Saturday (doctors had to stop his heart so they could restart it to get the beats pattern back to normal) can be controlled on a permanent basis. But perhaps the real wonder is that this didn’t happen long ago given his unrelenting schedule of organizing and performing!

The indefatigable impresario is just coming off a hugely successful Honouring Our Own event celebrating George Olliver‘s 50 years in showbiz, has a reprise HOO for Cathy Young coming up June 1 at Hugh’s Room and is working on putting together Volume 5 of his SongTown compilation cd series —and that’s just the stuff that he’s revealed publicly!

Otis fans, of course, will be disappointed that “The Kitchen Boy”, as he was known to members of the Purple Onion scene while working there part-time as a high school student, won’t be able to perform the opening set. But Mike McKenna, who’s doing one of the two feature sets with his new Stink band that does all McKenna-Mendelson Mainline tunes, has announced that he and Luke Gibson (whose Luke & The Apostles band are another feature, along with Brian Gladstone) will run a “Yorkville jam” set after the main acts have finished around 11 p.m. or so. And the word I’m hearing (it’s not “official” mind you) is that George Olliver and Cathy Young and many other Otis musical pals will be coming out to participate.

You can get advance tix at www.songtown.ca for just $20 and there should still be some left when doors at the club at 464 Spadina Ave. open at 6 p.m