SCORPIONS: JAMES KOTTAK ‘Was A Incredible Particular person’


Throughout an look on the April 12 episode of SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, SCORPIONS guitarist Rudolf Schenker commented on the latest passing of the band’s longtime drummer James Kottak. He stated (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “James was a improbable individual. We referred to as him the brother from one other mom. And it was nice to play with him and it was improbable. However when he was beginning to wrestle, it was arduous. We needed to ship him to [the island of Antigua to Eric Clapton‘s Crossroads drug and alcohol treatment center]. And we tried every little thing we may, however the second you turned your again round, he was already gone. And in the long run, we had been solely taking part in to click on, and we stated we will not try this. After which [MOTÖRHEAD leader] Lemmy [Kilmister] died after which Matthias [Jabs, SCORPIONS guitarist] had the concept to name Mikkey [Dee, MOTÖRHEAD drummer] and we began rehearsing with him. And Mikkey was nice on drums. He was additionally as an individual very good. We stated, ‘Okay, we now have to decide.’ After which we stated, ‘It is very arduous. We will cry, however we now have to stay to the longer term.’ And we tried every little thing. And now we make it with Mikkey. And Mikkey is a improbable individual as effectively differently. He is taking part in extra straight-forward. James was somewhat bit extra, taking part in round somewhat bit, which was very good as effectively. He was additionally a superb singer for backing vocals. But it surely was time to make a change.”

Added Jabs: “We misplaced an excellent pal.”

Kottak‘s daughter Tobi instructed TMZ her father handed away on January 9 in Louisville, Kentucky, the place he was born and lived till 1987, though additional particulars in regards to the actual circumstances weren’t obtainable.

Along with SCORPIONS and KINGDOM COME, Kottak had toured with such bands as WARRANT and even DIO for a brief run. James was additionally concerned in numerous different tasks, together with the Nineties band KRUNK by which he sang lead vocals and performed guitar.

Kottak spoke about his alcohol points in an April 2023 interview with Tulsa Music Stream. He stated partly: “I’ve had a couple of bouts with booze over time. However what folks do not know is all of the years that I used to be sober. 2008 to 2011. And right here a 12 months, and there a 12 months. And when our children [with his ex-wife Athena Lee, MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee‘s sister and acclaimed drummer in her own right], had been within the oven. I spent a variety of time not consuming. After which I had my moments once I did drink. And that does not imply I am falling down drunk, strolling round with a bottle round the home.”

James, who stated in a separate interview that he had been sober since October 2022, added that he hadn’t been in a position to utterly quit consuming. “Effectively, I am not gonna say I have not drank something,” he stated. “After I exit [and] I see some guys taking part in, I am standing there and all people desires to purchase me a drink. And I am going, ‘No, no,’ and eventually I take it and I’ve a few glasses of white wine. After which I am pissed at myself. And so there you go.”

He added: “I want I may say, ‘Oh, yeah, I have been sober for six years.’ It hasn’t labored like that for me. I have been in and in and out and in and out and out — and largely ‘in’, that means not consuming. However I’ve had my moments. And it is an ongoing course of. It is progress, not perfection, as we are saying.”

In a June 2022 interview with “This That & The Different With Troy Patrick Farrell”, Kottak denied that his battle with alcoholism was the first purpose he was fired from the SCORPIONS in 2016. He has since been changed by former MOTÖRHEAD drummer Mikkey Dee.

“I hate to say it, however Blabbermouth‘s type of been the worst James basher,” Kottak stated. “They at all times say — any article about SCORPIONS, they are saying, ‘Yeah, ever since James Kottak was launched for alcohol abuse.’ So I e-mailed them someday and stated, ‘Man, cease saying that.’ We parted methods. It wasn’t simply from alcohol, dude. We went by 5 years of negotiations, ‘trigger the supervisor and tour supervisor each died inside six months of one another. Then the band determined to self-manage, which is cool. However I will inform you what, man — that is when it was a super-bumpy street and we had been simply not on the identical web page anymore. And that occurs with bands.”

Six years in the past, Matthias stated that he and his bandmates “needed to make” the choice to fireside Kottak, explaining that they gave the drummer “all the possibilities” to get higher. Throughout an look on “Rock Speak With Mitch Lafon”, the guitarist stated: “James was an actual good pal — and he nonetheless is — however we could not proceed with him. We gave him all the possibilities, and 10 extra. And it was one thing that developed over time — the consuming behavior. It got here in waves — typically it was good for 4 weeks, after which [there] was drama, and if him, what that is like. Then if it impacts the present, you need to go, ‘Hmmm…’ As a result of our drum riser goes up 21 toes, or 24 toes typically, if the venue permits it, and the manufacturing supervisor, or stage supervisor, goes, ‘I can not have him go up there. It is too dangerous.’ If you cannot actually stroll down the steps straight, you may’t have that. In order that impacts your intro of the present, and that is not good — it is not skilled.”

He continued: “We had been serving to him — we had been sending him to Antigua, and we paid for it, and we did every little thing we may, as a result of we’re extraordinarily loyal. It is at all times arduous should you work with someone for nearly 20 years to say, ‘Okay, you have gotta go.’ We would reasonably do the alternative and attempt to preserve him and assist him. However we reached the purpose — or he reached the purpose — the place it was simply not value it. After three months or 4 months even — they gave him an additional month in Antigua, the rehab — he’d come house, we would begin once more, and you’ll’t even speak to him. So we needed to make that call. We had Mikkey on the street, so [James] did not discover. So I rehearsed with [Mikkey] and Paweł [Mąciwoda, bass] within the afternoon, only a backup; that was the unique plan. However then there was no manner we may proceed with James, so we began with Mikkey.”

4 years in the past, Kottak, who joined the SCORPIONS in 1996, instructed the SCORPIONS official fan membership Crazyscorps in regards to the circumstances that led to his departure from the legendary German arduous rock band: “I at all times appreciated a drink right here and there. After which I at all times additionally take a ache treatment referred to as Aleve. It is what all of the baseball gamers take, all of the footballers, and it really works like a attraction. You are taking these of these and you do not really feel something. However on high of that, I am a rock drummer in a rock band, and you have the inexperienced gentle to drink.

“From 2008 to 2011, I did not drink,” he defined. “I simply awoke someday and stated, ‘I simply do not wanna drink anymore.’ I did not go to rehab; I did not do any of that stuff. I simply did not wanna drink anymore.

“In case you have any data of A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous] or any sort of program or rehab, it solely lasts so lengthy after which you’ve got what we name in restoration a relapse. I’d undergo these phases of a 12 months or perhaps two years of no consuming, and then you definately step by step…

SCORPIONS, we play our present, we return to the lodge, [and] 45 minutes later, we’re all downstairs having dinner,” he continued. “And every little thing’s simply the proper worth — free. All these flights backwards and forwards from Europe, from L.A. — I used to be simply flying continuously. Which I am not complaining about, nevertheless it’s at all times enterprise or firstclass, and as soon as once more, all of the booze is on the proper worth. I am going, ‘I’ve bought the subsequent two days off. I’d as effectively have a drink.’ And that is what triggered me to begin consuming once more typically. It is a typical alcoholic mind-set: ‘Effectively, I’ll as effectively have a drink. Why not?’ And that is typical alcoholic illness pondering. ‘Trigger it is a illness.”

Photograph credit score: Oliver Rath / B|W|R PR (2015 press photograph)



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