Resetarits was born in the Austrian state Burgenland, but his family moved to Vienna when he was three. He studied sports and English studies intending to become a teacher, but his successful career as a musician intervened.
In 1969 Resetarits joined the political rock band Schmetterlinge (Butterflies). They participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1977 in London with the song "Boom-Boom-Boomerang", which was voted into last but one place.
In the mid-1980s, together with his colleague Günter Brödl he developed his alter ego Dr. Kurt Ostbahn, an excessive personality with an intense stage presence, which turned out to be very successful. The name was created in the mid-1970s, when Günter Brödl was asked during a radio show what American musicians like Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes would call themselves if they were from Vienna. He answered Ostbahn Kurti & die Chefpartie, which a decade later became the name of Willi Resetarits and his band. Resetarits also introduced the musical form of Favorit'n'Blues, a Viennese form of rhythm and blues. After Günter Brödl died unexpectedly in 2000, Dr. Kurt Ostbahn went on a final commemoration tour and then announced in December 2003 that he would let his alter ego retire.
However after the "official" retirement of Dr. Kurt Ostbahn after the last concert on December 31, 2003, there were 4 other appearances as Dr. Kurt Ostbahn: October 10 & 11 2010 - initially announced as CD box presentation - two memorial concerts around the 10th anniversary of Brödls death. August 27 & 28 2011, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the infamous "Ostbahn XI" open-air concert. In all four concerts, Resetarits/Ostbahn was joined on stage by a selection of musicians from his two bands, "Chefpartie" and "Kombo".
From 1995 to 1998 Trost und Rat von und mit Dr. Kurt Ostbahn (Solace and advice by and with Kurt Ostbahn, Ph.D.) was a very popular weekly radio show in Vienna, which verified Resetarits as an extraordinary entertainer. In 2006 the broadcast carried on, this time featuring Willi Resetarits instead of Dr. Kurt Ostbahn.
Even after the retirement of his alter ego Ostbahn Kurti/Dr. Kurt Ostbahn, Resetarits is very successful with very different music productions. In 2006 he was on tour with the Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer presenting World music and together with the Xtra Combo Resetarits interprets a wild mixture of Croatian Folk music, Wienerlieder (traditional Viennese ballads), Jazz and Blues as Stubnblues.
Resetarits is a human rights activist and one of the founders of the humanitarian organisations Asyl in Not and SOS Mitmensch. He is also one of the founders and chairman of the Integration House Vienna.
He has made frequent appearances on Austrian TV and in film productions.
- 1996: Nestroy-Ring
- 1998: Bruno Kreisky Award for Human Rights
- 2000: Josef-Felder-Prize für Gemeinwohl und Zivilcourage (Germany)
- 2003: Karl Renner-Prize