James Kottak, Ex-Scorpions and Kingdom Come Drummer, Dead at 61
Originally published by Consequence News
Former Scorpions drummer James Kottak has died at the age of 61. The veteran rocker was also a member of another notable German rock band, Kingdom Come.
No cause of death is immediately known, but Kottak’s passing was confirmed by his daughter Tobi, who told TMZ that the drummer died Tuesday morning in his birthplace of Louisville, Kentucky.
Kottak was a member of Scorpions from 1996 through 2016, appearing on all albums from 1999’s Eye II Eye to 2015’s Return to Forever. After 20 years in the band, he was fired for alcoholism, and replaced by Motörhead’s Mikkey Dee, who remains a current member of Scorpions.
Prior to joining Scorpions, Kottak was an original member of Kingdom Come in the 1980s, and rejoined the group a couple years after his dismissal from Scorpions. He was an active member of the band up until his passing.
Additionally, Kottak had stints in such acts as Warrant, Montrose, Bob Brickley Band, Nut House, Mister Charlie, Buster Brown, Wild Horses, The McAuley Schenker Group, and Ashba.
In recent years, after his exit from Scorpions, Kottak expressed some racist views on Black people and immigrants. He also discussed his battle with alcohol in an interview earlier this year, telling Tulsa Music Stream (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), “I’ve had a few bouts with booze over the years. But what people don’t know is all the years that I was sober. 2008 to 2011. And here a year, and there a year. And when our kids [with ex-wife Athena Lee, sister of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee] were in the oven, I spent a lot of time not drinking. And then I had my moments when I did drink. And that doesn’t mean I’m falling down drunk, walking around with a bottle around the house.”
Upon hearing of Kottak’s passing, Great White guitarist Mark Kendall posted on social media, “I reached out to James Kottak a month ago offering support & help with his alcoholism but he wasn’t ready. I could have gotten him into rehab free through connections & I told him that. I’m so sad to hear of his passing. I feel bad for everyone who loved him & he had a grandchild. RIP.”
See video of Kottak playing a drum solo during a Scorpions concert below.
I reached out to James Kottak a month ago offering support & help with his alcoholism but he wasn’t ready. I could have gotten him into rehab free through connections & I told him that. I’m so sad to hear of his passing. I feel bad for everyone who loved him & he had a…
— Mark Kendall (@MarkKendall_GW) January 9, 2024