The former Scorpions and Kingdom Come drummer has passed away at 61.

Word got out this week about the passing of drummer James Kottak, covered by Ultimate Classic Rock, who spent twenty years as drummer for the Scorpions. He joined the band in 1996 and was fired in 2016.

Prior to his time with Scorpions, he was an original member and drummer of another 80s German hard rock band, Kingdom Come. He was their drummer from 1987 to 1989 and again from 2018 up until his death. Kottak also had his own band called Kottak and had stints in bands like Montrose, Warrant, and the McAuley Schenker Group.

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Back in 2018, we were super excited about a show that WPDH had scheduled with promoter and friend Loaded Concerts. A great double bill was lined up with Zebra and Kingdom Come at The Chance in Poughkeepsie for Oct. 20.

Photo credit: The Rutigliano Archives
Photo credit: The Rutigliano Archives

Both Zebra and Kingdom Come put on great shows that October night five years ago. Zebra performing their debut album in its entirety along with a special Zep Set of Led Zeppelin and Kingdom Come with a revamped lineup featuring James Kottak on drums, celebrating their 30th anniversary.

I remember James walking around the club after the show, looking very inebriated. We chatted a bit and snapped a photo together.

Photo credit: The Rutigliano archives
Photo credit: The Rutigliano archives

It's been well documented about James Kottak and his battle with alcoholism for many years (a reason he lost his gig with the Scorpions). There are also stories out there about politics and some questionable racial comments that he made over time, all that is documented on Wikipedia.

I remember after that night at The Chance, people were commenting about James Kottak's behavior. One of the merch people said that he was "obnoxious", and a bartender at The Chance said that he was a "rude, drunken slob... a loser". Many patrons in attendance that night said he was a "drunk a**hole."

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James Kottak had a respectable career, that included the longest reign of any drummer in the Scorpions, lasting twenty years. I saw him perform numerous times over the years with the Scorpions and his "Kottak Attack" drum solo was always a highlight of those amazing shows. Sadly, his demons eventually caught up with him and hopefully he is now at peace. Rest easy James Kottak.

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