DRUMMER OF THE GIANTS
Interview Part 1
Interview and Article by Adriana Rubio
“Getting in the Rock and Roll business is not difficult if you really want to work, staying is the difficult part…” -James Kottak-
James Kottak is an American musician and composer internationally known as the long term talented drummer for the German band Scorpions. And although James is in a permanent hiatus from the band since 2016, he is warmly remembered playing drums, recording and touring with Scorpions for 20 memorable years.
James began his musical career in 1985 when he joined the glam metal band Buster Brown to replace drummer Bob Koestel. After the release of the record Sign of Victory in 1985, both he and singer Johnny Edwards were hired by guitarist Ronnie Montrose for the recording of the album Mean in 1987 by his revamped band Montrose. In the same year he joined singer Lenny Wolf to found a new group called Kingdom Come, in which he participated in two albums; Kingdom Come in 1988 and In Your Face in 1989.
In November of 1989, after leaving Kingdom Come, James Kottak participated in the debut album of guitarist Michael Lee Firkins. Sometime later with Johnny Edwards and Rick Steier founded the band Wild Horses and recorded Bareback in 1991. The following year he was hired by “McAuley Schenker Group” for recording sessions of the album M.S.G
In 1994, along with Rick Steier both joined the Warrant Californians to replace Joey Allen and Steven Sweet respectively.
James Kottak also collaborated with the band DIO for a few on-tour concerts in replacement of Vinny Appice, another talented drummer.
The musical trajectory of James Kottak goes beyond the limits for his determination to making it happen and becoming one of the greatest drumming paths in Rock and Roll history.
“When I was 9 years old my friend played trumpet. He was in band classes, so I went to band classes with him. I got a trumpet and played trumpet from first grade all the way through college. That was my main instrument”.
“But I saw this drummer play and blew my mind. He was so fast. I couldn’t figure out how he was doing this stuff work, the pedals and cymbals, and I just said WOW! I became obsessed”.
“Somehow I got a drum set with the help of my brother and I started playing, honestly I never stopped. I used to play before going to school and when I came back home from school. But I continued playing the trumpet in school”.
“I started my first band when I was 12 years old, then when I was 15 I got a pretty good break with an original band out of Kentucky. We toured everywhere from New Mexico to Florida and in between I took the year off from school, my Mom allowed me to do it, unbeliable! I then finished school, but even in high-school I played in bars 5 or 6 nights a week and continued playing, it kept going and going, and never stopped”.
“I was very fortunate. In 1985 I ended up hooking up with this pure original metal band. Montrose was like God to me. In 1987 we recorded “Mean”. From that on I went to Los Angeles and joined Kingdom Come, a great overnight success, we toured the Monsters Of Rock with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, Metallica and Kingdom Come, we were the opening act. That’s when I met the Scorpions, it was 1988”.
“Kingdom Come and Scorpions were on the same label Polygram and used to be booked on the same hotels and tours. We also had the same producer”.
PART 2 OF THIS INTERVIEW WILL BE UPLOADED NEXT WEEK
THANKS SO MUCH JAMES KOTTAK!