Kottak – James Kottak

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THERUPY is the name of the new Kottak album that’s out in stores now. Kottak is named after the bandleader and frontman James Kottak but the band went earlier under the name Krunk and with the new bandname there were a few line-up changes going on so when opportunity showed up I took it and interviewed James Kottak about his band and new album.


Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall

Thanks to Lars Chriss at Escapi Music Group for setting up the interview

Promo pictures provided by Escapi Music Group



Hi James, maybe you should start off with telling the readers about how Krunk was formed and why you chosed to call the band the bit unusual name Krunk?

Athena and I formed KRUNK in 1997 out of necessity. At the time, we couldn’t find many people in LA who were in to the stuff we were writing. Krunk was a word we used to describe everything and means nothing. We released a cd ‘greatist hits’ in 2000.

I’ve read that you released one album with Krunk, what did the media think of that? And when was it released?

The media loved it and we did well at radio in USA. It was released in 2000.

Which label released the Krunk albums and who owns the legal rights to the album today?

We released KRUNK ‘greatist hits’ on our own S.N.U.G. Records. We own everything!

Where are you currently living today?

We all live in LA


Ordinary you’re playing the drums but how many instruments can you play and which one do you think you’re best at?

I am definately the best on drums and singing. But, I look great playing guitar! I played trumpet, saxophone and any wind instrument I could get my hands on in school!

Your discography are very long and you have played with tons with bands throughout the years but which band have been the funniest to play in and do you have any special album that you’re especially satisified with?

Of course playing with The Scorpions is an honor, but, KOTTAK (formerly KrunK) is a blast!

Since a decade you’re handling the drums in the legendary German act The Scorpions, what’s that like and from all the albums you played on with The Scorpions which one are your favorite?

I love bashing with The Scorpions…Our last release ‘Unbreakable’ is my favorite.

Have you written songs by yourself for a long time and have you written anything for The Scorpions

I can’t remember not writing. I think I wrote my first song at age 10. I co-wrote three songs on Unbreakable. Athena and I are constantly writing.

When did you decide to change Krunk to Kottak?

About a year ago, we noticed there was a rapper using ‘crunk’, Krunk skateboards, you name it…too mainstream. The people at our new label ESCAPI Music suggested changing it to KOTTAK. Also, in KOTTAK, I go by the name JIMMY RATCHITT…my alter ego.

In Athena a new drummer entered Kottak but what happend to the other two Krunk-members?

Rev Jones (MSG) is our new bassist. Dave Whiston (guitar) has been with us since the beginning. Rick Steier played with us for a while @ around 2001.

Are you friends with them today?

Rick and I are good friends and still write together.

New in Kottak is Dave Whiston on lead guitar and Rev Jones on bass, but how did they end up in the band, did you knew them from before?

Dave has been with us since day one. We’ve known Rev for a few years.

Why have you chosen to take on an artistname in Kottak?

Jimmy Ratchitt puts me in a different frame of mind.

You and Athena have written all the material together, who does what and how long did it take to write all the material for THERUPY?

Athena and I have 100’s of songs. Our problem is figuring out which ones to put on the cds.Rick and Dave contibuted to the songs on ‘therupy’ as well.

You have featured 2 cover songs, the Cyndi Lauper song “Money Changes Everything” and “Holiday” by The Scorpions, why those 2 songs?

I like the ststement “Money Changes Everything” ’cause it’s sooo true! Holiday is one of my favorite all time songs, so, 

Have the other guys in The Scorpions heard your cover of “Holiday” what do they think of it?

Yes! They all heard it! They thought it was great! Klaus sang it with us live in San Francisco a few years ago…it rocked!

Should we look on Kottak as a continuation on were Krunk laid off or as a totally new band? Is Kottak a band or a project?

KOTTAK is definately a continuation of KrunK. KOTTAK is a band. I hate the term ‘project’…sounds like a lab experiment.

Why the title THERUPY, what’s the story behind that title?

All the songs on ‘therupy’ deal with all the crazy emotions us humans go through. Also, it was like a therpy session while Athena and I were writing the songs.


When and where was THERUPY recorded? Who’s produced the album?

‘therupy’ was recorded in two LA studios. Athena and I produced it along with Rick Plester.
Jim Monti (Korn) did some amazing additions as well.

Why did you sign on for Escapi Music? And for how many albums are you signed for at Escapi?

Escapi understands us. They like that we are a bit different.

Are you happy with Escapi’s work with promoting the album etc?

So far so good!

In the bio you describe your music as Cheap Trick meets Green Day on a bad day, would you like to explain that a little bit more? And how would you like to describe what kind of music Kottak plays?

For people who have never heard our music, The Cheap Trick meets Green Day on a bad day says it all.I love both of those bands!

You have featured the song “Anti” where Athena raps and it’s a song that, at least I think, falls a bit out of the frames of the other Kottak songs on the album. Why did you feature that song?

Anti is meant to be a parody…

With thought of that Kottak plays heavy rock’n’roll/punk with hints of metal influences to what crowd does Kottak turns to?

Live, KOTTAK can play with anyone…we fit with punk, rock, metal, etc…

The rock’n’roll freaks or the punk listeners?

All of the above!

In the bio you say that you suck on guitar but at least you look great doing it, what do you think of singing lead vocals?

I love being out front with a guitar around my neck. I feel closer to the audience.

With thought of you normally being used to being in charge of the drumming what do you think of Athena’s drumplay?

ATHENA is a great drummer! She has her own unique stlye and hits harder than most guys.Plus, she’s HOT!


Is there any plans on doing live shows with Kottak now that the album is out?

We are working on shows for December, January, and onward.

With thought of Kottak having had various problems both with the industry as well as personal problems how long do we have to wait until we can see the next Kottak album out in the stores?

If it were up to me, it would be out tomorrow.

Finally I’d really like to thank you for answering my questions and is there anything you’d like to say to the readers and fans outthere?

Buy our cd! Come see us live! You won’t be disappointed!





The new Cd is in the LGR section, check it out here

More info about the band