If you take a look at the world’s top rock bands, past to present, there are only a few drummers that really stand out. One of them is, without a doubt, James R. Kottak (born December 26, 1962, Louisville, Kentucky), who beats up the drums for the German super group Scorpions for the last 16 years.
Reading through the Scorpions facts and achievements, they leave you in sheer amazement. Over 85 million records sold, 35 platinum and 100 gold awards, more than 5000 shows in over 80 countries. The Scorpions sold out the Madison Square Garden twice in 24 hours and were the first western rock band playing behind the iron curtain during the cold war, which lead to the inspiration of their worldwide top ten hit Wind of Change. Having achieved all major goals in rock n roll, lifetime awards, world music awards, rock walk of fame, only to name a few, yes… they are still rocking and rolling and sell out stadiums all over the world! The Scorpions were never on hiatus”, says James “unlike other bands that record an album, go on tour and take 3 years off, the Scorps tour for 2 and a half years after each album and then hit the studios again.”
James has recorded 6 CDs and 5 DVDs with the Scorpions so far, but it hadn’t always been that easy. Being born in Louisville Kentucky, James had to struggle through all the typical ups and downs a musician can think of. His early years were spent pounding it out in clubs doing four sets a night, six nights a week.
“When I was a kid, if I wasn’t playing drums, I was doing sports or I was in a rock band…I love to sweat!” All this stamina led James to his first ‘Big Break’ in 1985, when he was asked to play with Ronnie Montrose on the ‘Mean’ album. “That was the ultimate dream come true, having been raised on the first Montrose record.” After his move to Los Angeles, which was suggested by James’ mentor Bobby Blotzer in 1987, James played and recorded for countless bands such as Kingdom Come, The Cult, Warrant, MSG, Buster Brown, DJ Ashba, Michael Lee Firkins, Bruce Dickinson. Some of them gold and platinum status; the list goes on and on…
In 1988 James got to know the Scorpions at the Monsters of Rock festival he was playing with Kingdom Come at that time, they remained friends ever since. The rest is history.