Who was James Kottak married to? All about his wife and kids as the ‘Scorpions’ and ‘Kingdom Come’ drummer dies aged 61 

Drummer James Kottak died recently aged 61. (Image via X/queensryche/SinCityBossRox)
Drummer James Kottak died recently aged 61. (Image via X/queensryche/SinCityBossRox)

On Tuesday, January 9, 2024, American drummer James Kottak passed away in his home in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 61. So far, the cause of his demise remains undisclosed, as per the New York Post, but he battled with alcoholism for years. The tragic news was first announced to TMZ by Kottak’s daughter, Tobi.

The German hard rock band Scorpions, of which James was a member between 1996 and 2016, mourned the news of his passing via Facebook. They shared a black-and-white picture of James Kottak along with the following caption:.

“Very sad news… our dear friend and drummer for 20 years James Kottak has passed at the age of 61… James was a wonderful human being, a great musician, and a loving family man… he was our ‘Brother from another Mother’ and will be truly missed… Rock ‘n Roll Forever. RIP James.”

The post was signed by its current members Klaus, Rudolf, Matthias, Pawel, and Mikkey (who replaced him as the lead drummer in 2016), and the photo credit was given to Marc Theis.

In the wake of his death, here’s taking a look at James Kottak’s family, which comprises three kids and his former wife, Athena Lee.


Everything you need to know about James Kottak’s ex-wife and children

The late drummer James Kottak was married to fellow drummer Athena Lee Bass between 1996 and 2010. She is the younger sister of drummer and rock musician Tommy Lee.

Together, the couple had a son named Matthew (now aged 27), and Kottak was also a father to Lee’s two kids from previous relationships, son Miles (now 31) and daughter Tobi (now 33). During their divorce in 2010, James and Athena engaged in a custody battle over their son Matthew, as per the New York Post.

Besides being a drummer for the all-female band Hardly Dangerous in her 20s, followed by the punk band Butt Trumpet and Kottak (founded by her the-then husband after his own name), she was also a guest commentator on VH-1’s Behind the Music and E!’s True Hollywood Story, as per Wiki.

Endorsed by Rockett Drumworks, she now independently plays drums with several bands and artists and has also appeared in reality shows, including Ex-Wives of Rock alongside James. She also penned a book in 2011 titled Coming In Second. Notably, Athena was the first woman to ever be nominated for the L.A. Music Awards.

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Meanwhile, Miles, like his mother and stepfather, has pursued a career as a drummer and plays for the indie rock band Bad Suns.


Exploring, in brief, the career of James Kottak

James Kottak, throughout his career, played for many bands including Bob Brickley Band, Nut House, Mister Charlie, Buster Brown, Montrose, Wild Horses, McAuley Schenker Group, Warrant, The Cult, and Ashba, among others. He also founded his own punk rock group Kottak (earlier called KrunK).

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However, he rose to fame when he joined Kingdom Come in 1987 and stayed with them until 1989. Later, in 1996, he joined Scorpions and became the first American to ever join a German band, and was part of their famous 1999 studio album Eye II Eye.

He was fired from the rock group in 2016 due to his alcoholism issues and was replaced by former Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee. Until then, he was their longest-serving member. He rejoined Kingdom Come in 2018 and continued to collaborate with them until his recent demise. Previously, he spoke about his prolonged battle with alcoholism with various media sources, including TMZ.

Edited by Babylona Bora
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