German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS have announced the addition of former MOTÖRHEAD member Mikkey Dee as a permanent replacement for SCORPIONS' longtime drummer James Kottak. Dee had spent the last few months filling in for Kottak, who was said to be on break while he sought medical attention.
Said SCORPIONS in a statement: "We would like to thank James for so many years of lasting participation in the band and personal friendship. We understand and respect his need for time as he makes his way through the final stages of his healing process.
"After our incredibly successful shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia, we are sure to have found a fantastic drummer with Mikkey Dee. He brings a fresh energy to the band and we look forward to the exciting time together that lies ahead."
Said Dee: I feel truly honored and fortunate to be able to carry on playing drums on this level.
"I grew up listening to SCORPIONS and have always loved the band.
"We have been friends for a long time so traveling and performing this year with Klaus, Rudolf, Matthias and Pawel has been loads of fun and the crew is very professional.
"The SCORPIONS fans have been most welcoming and it's been great to meet all the crazy wonderful MOTÖRHEAD bangers along the way.
"I had some close to 25 amazing years with my friends and brothers Lemmy and Phil in MOTÖRHEAD and that will always be the backbone in my future drumming.
"Lemmy always had great respect for SCORPIONS for being a real rock band and I am sure he is proud up there that I moved on and for playing with this class act.
"Here's to many more years of rock and roll."
Regarding how playing with SCORPIONS is different from performing with MOTÖRHEAD, Mikkey said: "I played so long with MOTÖRHEAD, we were a three-piece, and that's a tremendous difference. For instance, when Phil [Campbell, MOTÖRHEAD guitarist] was doing his solo, I might have to be a little busier on the kick drum. Here [in the SCORPIONS], I've gotta think the opposite — I've gotta be easier on certain things and step into some other stuff. But it's a great challenge."
Kottak rejoined the SCORPIONS on the road in November 2014, eight months after he spent a month in a Dubai, United Arab Emirates jail in April for insulting Islam.
Kottak, who had been receiving treatment for alcohol abuse, released a statement in June 2014 in which he said "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."
For some of SCORPIONS' 2014 concerts, Swedish drummer Johan Franzon filled in for Kottak.
Dee was originally scheduled to play drums for THIN LIZZY on the latter band's anniversary shows planned for 2016 and 2017 but was forced to bow out of the dates after he was offered the SCORPIONS gig. He has since been replaced in that group's touring lineup by JUDAS PRIEST's Scott Travis.