James Kottak, the American drummer of German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS, has released the following statement:
"After years of drinking alcohol, on April 3rd, 2014 my addiction finally caught up with me during a five-hour flight from Ekaterinburg, Russia to Bahrain via Dubai, during which I consumed 5 or 6 glasses of wine. While at the airport in Dubai, I approached an airline representative to check on status of my flight. The representative informed me that I was in the wrong place and I replied, 'WTF?!' The representative then called the police and reported that I was intoxicated (which I was) and that I made a lewd gesture.
"One of the police officers recognised me as drummer of the SCORPIONS. When the police asked me to show my ID, I showed them the 'Rock & Roll Forever' tattoo on my back instead of my actual ID, which was in my back pack my friend was carrying for me. Apparently, the police did not find this funny and I was charged with 'drinking without a license,' for which I pleaded guilty and received a one-month sentence and a 2,000 Dirham (300 USD) fine. I was also charged with insulting Islam/Muslims by making a lewd gesture, for which I pleaded not guilty and did not actually do.
"Upon returning to the United States on May 6th, I immediately reached out to Bob Forrest, an addiction specialist known for his work with musicians and 'Celebrity Rehab'. I have been meeting with Bob on a regular basis. He has guided me to the MusiCares organization, which provides musicians with help for mental health and addiction issues.
"I am determined to come to grips with my alcoholism and am doing everything on a daily basis to beat this relentless disease.
"This entire incident caused me to realize that it is time to stop drinking once and for all so that I can become the father, musician, and friend that I know I can be.
"I am glad to put this unfortunate incident behind me and move onward and upward with my life.
"I would like to send out a HUGE thank-you to my family, friends and fans around the world for their incredible loving support…you kick ass! I would also like to send a sincere apology from the bottom of my heart to everyone I have affected and look forward to seeing you all!!
"With love, James Kottak.
"Tomorrow is a brand new day!"
SCORPIONS recently released a statement in which they said about Kottak: "[James] will have to find the time to sort out his problems."
For SCORPIONS' recent concerts in Germany, Swedish drummer Johan Franzon filled in for Kottak.
Because of his arrest, Kottak did not perform with his bandmates at the April 5 show at the 2014 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and was replaced at the gig by Mark Cross (TAINTED NATION, FIREWIND, OUTLOUD, HELLOWEEN, METALLIUM).
In a 2005 interview, Kottak, who has been in the SCORPIONS since 1996, stated about his audition for the band: "I was always a SCORPIONS fan for the songs on the radio because in America they played them non-stop. I was never the guy that went out and bought their records but I always liked their songwriting and the songs and the whole vibe. Then I was in a band called KINGDOM COME in 1987-1990 and we opened for the SCORPIONS and I saw them and they were so professional on the Monsters Of Rock tour, [and] I was totally blown away. But I never went out and bought their albums, I never went out and bought any other albums either. I was a fan of all music — good or bad. It was on the radio so much, I didn't need to buy it. I spent all my money buying drums, drumsticks and cymbals. In the audition, I knew most of the SCORPIONS music from playing in cover bands. I'm from Louisville, Kentucky. That's how I earned my money in the early '80s — we played 'Still Loving You', 'Rock You Like a Hurricane', 'Big City Nights'. The flattering point with the SCORPIONS [was] when I did fly to Germany for the 'audition,' it wasn't so much an audition, more like, 'Let's get together and see how it feels.' So, I was very flattered about that because they did audition like another 25 drummers. I was very flattered to be picked."