Scorpions drummer James Kottak has been convicted of insulting Islam and will spend a month in jail in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He will also pay a $550 fine for drinking alcohol without a licence. According to government-run paper The National, Kottak, who allegedly knocked back five glasses of wine on an April 3 flight from Moscow to Dubai then Bahrain for a scheduled gig at the country’s Formula One grand prix, insulted Islam, raised his middle finger, and was under the influence of alcohol while in transit at the Dubai airport. Kottak reportedly admitted to drinking, but denied the other two charges.
A client service employee at the airport was quoted as saying, “When he [Kottak] saw the Pakistani and Afghani passengers, he covered his nose and said that there was no way he will travel with them.” He added that the drummer then started swearing repeatedly. “He wasn’t talking to a person specifically but was talking in general,” said the client service employee. “He was very nervous at the time and talking loudly.” A Jordanian passenger services agent said Kottak came over to her and “was shouting ‘non-educated Muslims’ then he went to the office of the head and flashed his middle finger at the passengers.” Police added that he flashed his rear-end at people.
Kottak denied the accusations, telling prosecutors: “I don’t remember saying these words and I did not flash my middle finger.” He also denied mooning anyone, saying: “This is not true — I just lifted my shirt up to show the tattoo on my back” as a “spontaneous act.” “There is no way that I would say such a phrase about Muslims, whether I was drunk or not,” he said. “I confess to drinking alcohol but I refuse the other two charges, I did not do them,” he added.
Judas Priest’s much-anticipated new album is called Redeemer of Souls; it’s due out in the U.S. on July 15. Have a listen to the title track here.
Nearly two years after ousting longtime frontman Geoff Tate from the band, the members of Queensrÿche and the singer have amicably come to terms over the Queensrÿche name. Original members Michael Wilton (guitarist), Eddie Jackson (bassist), and Scott Rockenfield (drummer) will retain the name; they will, along with singer Todd La Torre and guitarist Parker Lundgren, now make up the band Queensrÿche and will perform its entire catalog. However, Tate has exclusive rights to perform the band’s Operation: Mindcrime I and II in their entirety as a unique performance. The corporate assets of Queensrÿche will be divided evenly between Wilton, Jackson, Rockenfield and Tate.
“I’m very happy that it’s over and done and we can all move on with our lives,” said Tate to Billboard. “We’ve been trying to work something out for months and months and months, and it’s like any kind of lawsuit, it’s just slow going. But finally I think the realization that going to court over the whole thing was going to be a huge nightmare and huge financial mess for everybody that [we] really started to look at it more seriously and realistically.” About his exclusive deal with regard to performing Operation: Mindcrime I and II in their entirety, Tate explained: “It’s pretty similar to the Pink Floyd settlement where one group got the name and Roger Waters got The Wall. It’s very similar to that. I retain Operation: Mindcrime and everything revolving around that, and they got the name, so it’s a win-win for everybody.” He concluded, “I think just, I’m ready to move on and do something different. And this is a great launching point to do that from, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
As part of his “move on” plans, Tate has scheduled a final tour called Queensrÿche Starring Geoff Tate – The Farewell Tour. Check out the dates here.
Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy has quit the band. Said Pearcy, “After 30 years creating the band Ratt and losing a real brother, Robbin [Crosby, late Ratt guitarist who died from a heroin overdose in 2002], it’s time that I personally part ways with the band. I am officially done with having anything to do with them due to the constant turmoil, unresolved business, personal attacks/threats in the public forum, and most of all, the disrespect to the fans. I’m very content and proud of the legacy and the music I’ve created. This music will live well beyond any of our lifetimes. I owe no one anything but a huge heartfelt thank you for coming to the party for the last 30 years. With much respect, life goes on and the music I created will continue to be heard for years to come despite the dark clouds that have lingered for far too long. I will personally continue to make music and perform live shows. See you out there.”
He later added that even though he’s officially withdrawing from the band, he’ll still fulfill a contractual obligation to release another studio album under the Ratt name. “It just won’t be under the circumstance of a band going into the studio and this-and-that,” said Pearcy in a recent interview. “I just won’t be playing in that band anymore, and pretty much put that to rest.” He says he’s “still committed to this record…Warren [DeMartini, guitarist] and I actually wrote a great song months ago at MT Studios, my bass player’s studio. If that’s the last thing that gets out and the only thing, it’s a good thing. But you know, I said I’d do it. But I never want to be involved with my band again. That’s just the bottom line.”
The recent Revolver Golden Gods Awards happened on April 23 in Los Angeles…but not without some hitches and surprises. One surprise to some was Deep Purple winning the “Comeback Of The Year” honor over Black Sabbath, but the biggest gasp of the evening was definitely a major OOPS when, during a tribute to metal stars who had passed in recent years, late Warrant singer Jani Lane was identified as a member of…Motörhead. Ouch.
On a positive note, Guns N’ Roses, who were delayed due to production problems that were actually out of their control, took to the stage and played with former bassist Duff McKagan. Congrats to the aforementioned Deep Purple; G N’ R singer Axl Rose, who took home this year’s Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award; Joan Jett, the first woman to take the Golden God Award; and Black Sabbath, whose 13 was named as Album of the Year.
Done deal: Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil is now part-owner of Florida-based Arena Football League team Jacksonville Sharks. However, despite Vince’s recent comments in the press, it doesn’t look like the team will be relocating anytime soon. Said majority owner Jeff Bouchy, “Simply stated, the Jacksonville Sharks are neither relocating to the Las Vegas market nor planning to ever leave our great city of Jacksonville.”
Check out Night Ranger’s new video for “High Road,” the title track from the band’s upcoming studio album (due out on June 10).