‘Scorpions’ Drummer James Kottak Dead at Age 61


James Kottak, former drummer for German hard-rock band Scorpions, has died at age 61. His cause of death is still unknown at this time.

Kottak’s daughter, Tobi, confirmed to TMZ that her father passed on Tuesday morning in his hometown of Louisville, KY, though she didn’t elaborate on the circumstances surrounding his passing. Metal Sludge, one of the first outlets to report the news, has reported that Kottak died of a cardiac arrest, but Men’s Journal has been unable to independently confirm this.

Kottak was also well-known for his drumming work with cult band Kingdom Come, though he shared a rocky relationship with that group before finally leaving in 2022. He drummed for Scorpions from 1996 until 2016, when it was reported that he was fired due to his alcoholism.

The drummer was open about his drinking in the past, telling Tulsa Music Stream (via Blabbermouth) last year that he had tried and failed to quit many times. “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,” he explained. “I spent a lot of time not drinking. And then I had my moments when I did drink.”

“I wish I could say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve been sober for six years.’ It hasn’t worked like that for me,” Kottak said in a separate October ‘22 interview. “I’ve been in and out and in and out and in and out—and mostly ‘in’, meaning not drinking. But I’ve had my moments. And it’s an ongoing process. It’s progress, not perfection, as we say.”

In addition to Kingdom Come and Scorpions, Kottak played with Warrant, Dio, Wild Horses, Buster Brown, KrunK, and Montrose.

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