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 January 10, 2024

Ex Scorpions And Kingdom Come Drummer James Kottak Dead At 61

The music world is mourning the loss of a legendary drummer.

James Kottak, known for his tenure with the rock bands Scorpions and Kingdom Come, has died at 61 in Louisville, Kentucky.

James Kottak, whose powerful drumming fueled the sounds of bands like Scorpions and Kingdom Come, passed away, leaving a void in the rock music industry. His daughter Tobi confirmed the sad news, but the cause of his death remains unclear. Kottak had a turbulent but impactful career marked by his musical prowess and personal struggles.

Rock legend's impactful career

Kottak's journey with the Scorpions, a prominent name in rock music, spanned two decades. He joined the band in 1996 and became their longest-serving drummer until his departure in 2016. His drumming was key to the band's sound, contributing to their worldwide success.

However, Kottak's time with the Scorpions was not without its challenges. In 2016, the band parted ways with him, citing his struggles with alcoholism. This marked a turning point in Kottak's career and life, leading him to seek help and rehabilitation.

Beyond Scorpions, Kottak's musical journey included stints with Kingdom Come, his band Kottak (formerly KrunK), and several other rock groups. His versatility and talent made him a sought-after musician in the rock world.

A personal life marked by struggles

James Kottak's personal life, particularly his battle with alcoholism, was often in the public eye. In a candid 2020 interview, he opened up about his struggles, revealing the complexities of his journey. He admitted to his liking for alcohol, detailing his on-and-off relationship with drinking and periods of sobriety.

His battle with addiction led him to seek help at a renowned rehab facility. Kottak credited this experience with transforming his life and mindset, offering him a new perspective on his personal and professional life.

In 2014, Kottak faced legal issues in Dubai due to a drunken incident. He later expressed confusion over the event, claiming no recollection of the reported actions.

Family ties and tributes

Kottak was married to Athena Bass, the younger sister of Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee, from 1996 until 2010. The couple had a son, Matthew, and Athena has two other children from previous relationships, Tobi and Miles. These family ties added another layer to Kottak's public persona.

Following Kottak's passing, the Scorpions paid tribute to their former drummer on Instagram. They lauded him as not just a great musician but also a loving family man, referring to him affectionately as their "brother from another mother."

Very sad news … our dear friend and Drummer for 20 years James Kottak has passed at the age of 61… James was a wonderful human being, a great musician and loving family man … he was our 'Brother from another Mother' and will be truly missed. … Rock‘n Roll Forever RIP James.

Controversial views and legacy

James Kottak was also known for his outspoken political views, which sometimes courted controversy. He often shared his opinions on social media, reflecting his conservative stance on various issues. These views were a part of Kottak's complex personality, adding to his public image beyond his music career.

Despite the controversies, Kottak's contribution to rock music remains undeniable. His drumming style, marked by energy and precision, influenced many and shaped the sound of the bands he played with.

Kottak's legacy in the music world is multifaceted. His impact on rock music, along with his personal struggles and outspoken nature, paints the picture of a man who lived passionately on and off the stage.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

The life and passing of James Kottak offer several lessons:

  1. The importance of seeking help for addiction issues. Kottak's struggles highlight the challenges many face in dealing with substance abuse.
  2. The impact of a public figure's personal life on their professional career. Kottak's challenges had significant effects on his music career.
  3. The role of family and relationships in coping with personal struggles. Kottak's family was a crucial part of his life, offering support through his challenges.
  4. The a need for open discussions about mental health, especially in high-pressure industries like music. Kottak's story underscores the importance of support and understanding for those battling addiction and mental health issues.

It's crucial to remember that, despite taking precautions, anyone can face challenges as Kottak did, and victim-blaming is never acceptable.

Why this story matters

James Kottak's story is significant for several reasons. It highlights the often unseen struggles of public figures, reminding us that success and fame do not shield one from personal challenges. His journey underscores the importance of addressing mental health and addiction issues, both in the music industry and beyond. Additionally, Kottak's life serves as a reminder of the impact one individual can have on an industry and the people around them. His legacy in music will continue to inspire and influence future generations.

In conclusion, the story of James Kottak's life and passing encompasses:

  • His significant contributions to rock music as a Scorpions and Kingdom Come member.
  • His battles with alcoholism and its impact on his career and life.
  • The tributes and remembrances from his family, friends, and bandmates paint a picture of a complex and passionate individual.
  • His controversial views and the legacy he leaves behind in the music world.


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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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