Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

After the death of their friend, they return to the stage with a changed line-up. What do we already know?

Group Kingdom Come announced “Return to the Kingdom”. The start of the tour with a refreshed lineup is scheduled for March 15 in Irwin, Pennsylvania.

Recently, a drummer James Kottak he was a substitute on stage Blas Elias known for Slaughter. Let us recall that Kottak died on January 9 at the age of 61. The American was a musician in a German group from 1996 to 2016 Scorpions (listen!)becoming the drummer with the longest experience in the legendary formation from Hannover (its predecessor Herman Rarebell he played for a total of 19 years).

Due to problems with alcohol abuse, Kottak was fired and then returned to Kingdom Come – he had previously been a member of this hard rock band in 1987-1989.

Two months after the death of their friend, the group announced the details of their return to the stage – in addition to the tour, as part of the “continuation of the legacy”, a new album was also announced. He took over the position of drummer Matt Muckle (including Paul Gilbert, Lynch Mob), and he became the new vocalist Ezekiel “Zeke” Kaplan. The latter replaced it Keith St. Johnwho was behind the microphone in the years 2018-2024, and now is to focus on unspecified “other projects”.

The composition is supplemented Danny Stag (guitar), Rick Steier (guitar, keyboards) i Johnny B. Frank (bass), who appeared in Kingdom Come at the very beginning in the late 1980s. Stag and Frank returned in 2014, and Steier appeared at their side another four years later.

Before joining the group Scorpions James Kottak he performed in such bands as, among others, Kingdom Come, Montrose, Warrant Whether McAuley Schenker Group.

“He had his ups and downs. Towards the end, it seemed like he was really trying to pull himself together. I know he went through a 48-day rehab program,” he revealed in an interview with the radio program “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” Keith St. John.

“The decision to part with him was really difficult, especially for the other friends. Guitarist Rick Steier he grew up with James when they lived together near Louisville. He had been his best friend for years – on and off stage. But we reached a point where we didn’t want to see him embarrass himself anymore – it wasn’t good for the band either,” the singer recalls.

In May 2016, the drummer’s condition turned out to be so weak that on the American part of the “Return to Forever” tour in Scorpions he was replaced by a singer from Sweden Mickey Dee (last drummer Motorhead). Initially, the musicians announced that Kottak’s absence was temporary.

“We would like to continue the tour with James, but we realized that his health is the priority. We wish James a quick recovery – he will return to us in the fall,” he commented at the time Klaus Meine, singer of Scorpions. “This incident made me realize that it was time to finally stop drinking so that I could become the father, musician and friend I can be,” commented James Kottak at the time.

In 2018, the drummer returned to the reactivated American group after many years Kingdom Come. It was with her that he performed during Sweden Rock Festival 2022. A recording of the disastrous performance was posted online – it shows that the musician is in poor shape: he is losing rhythm and slowing down. Kottak was criticized not only by Internet users, but also by journalists and other musicians. In later statements, he explained that his condition was not caused by being drunk. He also denied that alcohol addiction was the reason for his breakup with the Scorpions (“We just broke up, such things happen in bands”).

The musician claimed that he had significantly reduced alcohol since 2022, but added that he had never been able to quit it completely. “I can’t say that I quit completely. In my case it didn’t work like that. I got into it and got out of it. It’s a continuous process. It’s progress towards perfection,” he commented in one of the interviews.

In the years 1996-2010, the drummer was married to a drummer Athena Leesister Tommy Leedrummer Mötley Crüe (together they had a son, Matthew, and also raised Athena’s children from her previous relationships).