James Kottak, former Scorpions drummer, dies at 61

Music news

Sad day for hard rock fans Scorpions and Kingdom Come. The man who was the drummer for two decades of the legendary band has just died at the age of 61. german heavy metal band, James Kottak. It was his own daughter, Tobi Tyler, who gave the tragic news to the entertainment portal TMZ.

The causes of the musician’s death have not yet been revealed nor have more details been confirmed, but other portals, such as Metal Sludge, the first to report the death, claim that the drummer was found dead in a bathroom in his house in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky (USA). “Kottak is believed to have died of apparent cardiac arrest”collects the specialized website.

James Kottak’s big step in the world of music was when he became part of the well-known metal band Scorpions, where he remained from 1996 to 2016, the year in which the group’s team decided to do without him due to his serious alcoholism problems and was replaced by former Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee. Previously, the musician was the drummer for Kingdom Come and worked with other groups such as Krunk, Montrose, Wild Horses and Buster Brown.

“Very sad news…our dear friend and drummer of 20 years James Kottak passed away at the age of 61. James was a wonderful human being, a great musician and a loving family man. He was our “brother from another mother “And we will miss him a lot. Rock’n Roll forever,” the Scorpions have said goodbye to their former member.

James Kottak and the addiction that kept him from glory

In fact, over the years, he talked a lot about his addiction to drinking and recently, last year 2022, he publicly acknowledged that he had not been able to disengage completely and that he was immersed in a slow process of recovery and healing. Although he had moments of sobriety intermittently, he had several relapses.

In the summer of that same year, in June, James Kottak performed with his band, Kingdom Come, at Sweden Rock festival, where there was a lot of criticism from the attendees who witnessed the unfortunate state of the drummer on stage. “I have never seen a drummer fall asleep on stage,” some even said. Even Swedish music critics criticized the American’s questionable performance.

“The truth is that there is probably no no one who can save him but himself. Whether he is saved or not, only time will tell. There are too many people who are allowing it… and someone has to say it,” confessed Stevie Rachelle, singer of the glam metal band Tuff after the criticism leveled against the group in statements reported by Rock FM.

Even one of Kottak’s friends, musician Robbie Crane, also thought that the solution was only in his hands: “He has to want to. But like so many before him, addiction has him totally consumed. He’s in the eye of his own hurricane and sees nothing but peace around him.”


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.