Drummer JAMES KOTTAK Has Passed At 61, Ex-SCORPIONS Bandmates Mourn His Loss: “A Wonderful Human Being & A Family Man”

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The music world lost a driving beat today, with the passing of James Kottak, a drummer whose powerful style left its mark on both the legendary Scorpions and the hard-hitting rock band Kingdom Come. Kottak, known for his energetic and technically precise playing, died at the age of 61.

Kottak‘s daughter Tobi told TMZ her father passed away this morning (January 9) in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was born and lived until 1987, although further details about the exact circumstances surrounding his passing are still unknown.

Kottak‘s former bandmates in Scorpions have commented on his passing: “Very sad news… our dear friend & Drummer for 20yrs James Kottak has passed at the age of 61. James was a wonderful human being, a great musician & loving family man. He was our ‘Brother from another Mother’ & will be truly missed. Rock’n Roll Forever. “RIP James“.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Kottak‘s musical journey began early. He honed his skills on the drums throughout his teenage years, eventually landing the coveted position of drummer for Kingdom Come in 1987. His thunderous drumming provided the backbone for the band’s gritty blues-influenced rock, propelling them to success with their 1988 self-titled debut album.

In 1996, Kottak‘s career took a momentous turn when he joined the iconic German rock band Scorpions. Replacing longtime drummer Herman Rarebell, Kottak seamlessly integrated into the band’s sound, infusing their classic hits like “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “No One Like You” with a renewed level of power and dynamism. He toured extensively with the Scorpions for two decades, contributing to several successful albums and solidifying his place as a world-class drummer.

On April 29, 2014, it was reported that Kottak was arrested in Dubai and sentenced to one month in jail for offensive behavior, insulting Islam, and public drunkenness. Less than two years later, on September 12, 2016, he was fired from Scorpions for his alcoholism issues.

Four years ago, Kottak, spoke to the Scorpions official fan club Crazyscorps regarding the circumstances that led to his departure from the legendary band: “I always liked a drink here and there. And then I always also take a pain medication called Aleve. It’s what all the baseball players take, all the footballers, and it works like a charm. You take those of those and you don’t feel anything. But on top of that, I’m a rock drummer in a rock band, and you’ve got the green light to drink.

“From 2008 to 2011, I didn’t drink. I just woke up one day and said, ‘I just don’t wanna drink anymore.’ I didn’t go to rehab; I didn’t do any of that stuff. I just didn’t wanna drink anymore. If you have any knowledge of A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous] or any type of program or rehab, it only lasts so long and then you have what we call in recovery a relapse. I would go through these phases of a year or maybe two years of no drinking, and then you gradually…” Kottak added.

Scorpions, we play our show, we go back to the hotel, [and]45 minutes later, we’re all downstairs having dinner. And everything’s just the right price — free. All these flights back and forth from Europe, from L.A. — I was just flying constantly. I’m not complaining about it, but it’s always business or first class, and once again, all the booze is at the right price. I’m going, ‘I’ve got the next two days off. I might as well have a drink.’ And that’s what triggered me to start drinking again sometimes. It’s a typical alcoholic way of thinking: ‘Well, I may as well have a drink. Why not?’ And that’s typical alcoholic disease thinking. ‘Cause it is a disease.” he explained.

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1 Comment

  1. He was born in Nashville, but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and played in bands there for many years. He was also the drum teacher of Bride drummer Jerry McBroom.

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