Canadian rock legend Kim Mitchell, age 63, was said to have suffered from a heart attack early Tuesday morning, according to a post on the musician’s Facebook page.
It was reported that Kim Mitchell’s heart attack resulted in an emergency surgery being performed and that the former Q107 radio host and Max Webster founder is expected to remain the hospital for a “day or two” and then to require six to eight weeks before he fully regains his strength.
“Kim would like to thank the nurses and doctors at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s hospitals,” the rocker’s Facebook page stated.
Just had lunch with Kim Mitchell a few weeks ago..he looked better than me. Keep him in your thoughts.— Mike Bullard (@MikeBullard1010) January 14, 2016
Kim Mitchell was born in 1952 and grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, where he appeared as the lead guitarist and singer for a number of different bands, many of which were said to have featured the same line-ups, eventually leading them to Toronto. All of the members of these groups returned to Sarnia, while Mitchell persisted. It is written that he was “starving” but “getting work” during this period, recording commercials, and working the “hotel and airport lounge circuit,” according to Canoe.
Mitchell then set off to Greece where Paul Woods was reported to have been invited to join him. The pair wrote music together in Europe, sparking the idea for a new band. New members were selected: Paul Kersey, Mike Tilka, and Terry Watkinson. Taking their cue from other rock musicians who chose nonsensical people’s names for their groups, such as Alice Cooper and Jethro Tull, Mitchell and company settled on the name Max Webster, which was said to be inspired by a song Tilka’s former group Family At Macs wrote named “Webster”.
Max Webster became a 1970s Canadian rock staple, touring the country extensively and performing on New Year’s Eve at Toronto’s old Maple Leaf Gardens for many years. Mitchell and Max Webster also became close, lifelong friends with members of the band Rush. The song “Battle Scar” on the Max Webster album Universal Juveniles featured Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and Alex Lifeson playing side-by-side with the members of Webster.
After going through several line-up changes and experiencing poor selling European tour shows, thought by some to have been a result of mismanagement by record company officials, Max Webster disbanded in 1982. Kim Mitchell, however, was just getting started.
Mitchell’s first self-titled album reached No. 36 in Canada, but failed to chart outside the country. The songs that Mitchell are most known for, both in and outside Canada, “Go For A Soda” and “Patio Lanterns,” would come on his next two albums Akimbo Alogo and Shakin’ Like A Human Being. 1985’s “Go For A Soda” was Kim Mithchell’s only charting U.S. hit, topping out at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In Canada, Akimbo Alogo went platinum, Shakin’ Like A Human Being went triple platinum, and Michell’s next albums, Rockland, I Am A Wild Party, and Aural Fixations, sold double platinum, platinum, and gold respectively.
Then, while still performing rock shows, Mitchell worked as a drive-time D.J. with Toronto’s biggest rock radio station, Q107, from 2004 to 2015. He could often be heard playing his guitar on the radio, in between spinning classic rock hits from bands like Rush, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. Mitchell also interviewed many other musicians, giving listeners the unique perspective of listening to a seasoned rock veteran speak with rock superstars, ranging from Robert Plant to the Barenaked Ladies.
Though his presence on the airwaves in Toronto has been missed by fans, Mitchell maintained a busy touring schedule through 2015, and has several shows booked in 2016, according to his website. There has been no official word, however, upcoming shows in Sudbury and Rama, Ontario on February 5 and March 6, may need to be rescheduled.
[Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images]