James "Mr. Kick" Kottak Interview
(Kingdom Come - The Last Interview)
They were the success story of 1988. Their debut album sold 1.3 million copies
worldwide. They loaded a slot on the Monsters of Rock tour with Van Halen,
Scorpions, Metallica, and Dokken. But, there have been some annoyances - the
group has been severely criticized for sounding too much like Led Zeppelin.
Even Jimmy Page (Zeppelin member) referred to them in one interview as "Kingdom
Here to defend the honor and music of his group "Kingdom Come", is drummer
James "Mr. Kick" Kottak.
A - James. Jim's for sissies (laughs).
Q - James, you must be either the happiest guy around or
the most confused. I say happy because your group made quite a splash for
a new band, and confused because of the criticism your music has drawn. How
do you handle hat kind of thing?
A - I'm always the happiest guy in rock-n-roll. At first it kind of bothers
you (the criticism), but I just kind of ignore a lot of it. All the bad press
did for us, was to challenge us and fuel the fire for us to come up with an
even better second album. So anybody that was trying to cut us down, all they
did was help us. (laughs)
So that's sort of the way we handle bad press. A lot of people get bitter about
it, don't personally.
Q - Do you go along with that saying, negative publicity is
better than no publicity at all?
A - I'll take any publicity. I don't care. As long as your name is out there.
I think we would've sold a lot more albums if they hadn't ragged on us so much
last year, but at the same time it created a lot of curiosity. So I think,
a lot of people bought the album out of curiosity, and then they discovered
this is a real band. I don't know man, I just usually blow it all off. If you
sit around and think about it all the time, it'll screw you up.
Q - Don' t you think a lot of people are surprised that you've
got a second album out? Maybe they viewed "Kingdom Come" as a sort of flash
in the pan.
A - Well, that was our whole reason for getting our second album out, as quick
as possible. We didn't want anybody to forget us that quick. We're definitely
out to prove we're not a one-hit wonder band. There's a lot of depth to this
group. This second album pretty much speaks for itself. Whether it sells 10
copies or 10 million copies, we know that album, the new one, is great.
Q - How did the offer to play on the Monsters of Rock Tour
A - It was between our management and Van Halen's management. When we first
heard about it, I personally was against it, 'cause we were also getting offers
from Def Leppard, AC/DC, and David Lee Roth at the same time. I was saying
I thought it would be better if we went into smaller areas. It would be a little
more personal. And, I still think that to this day. But, I think the Monsters
of Rock really did help us. It got our name out into every household. If we
weren't on it, we probably would've wished we were on it. (laughs) I still
don't know the exact story of how it went down. All I know is that we did it.
Q - After doing a tour like that, isn't everything that follows
a bit of a come down?
A - In one way yeah, and in another way no. The other night we played to 700
people. To me it never really matters how many are there, it's how they're
responding to you. In Japan we played with Bon Jovi, Ratt, and Britny Fox,
New Year's Eve and New Year's day. Two shows at the Tokyo Dome, which sold
out both days, 50,000 people, each day. Huge. Great. It's like a two day Monsters
of Rock in Tokyo. So then 4 days later we headline our own show in Osaka. Out
of a 1,500 seater, we sold 1,200 tickets. So there we go from playing to 50,000,
to 1,200. But we enjoyed playing the smaller gigs more than ever. It was just
Q - Lenny went on to say, "I don't want to say we do something
totally original, but we are original in our own right." Isn't it impossible
for a band around today, not to have been influenced by someone else? Is
anybody original anymore?
A -I think one of the last original bands, was probably The Beatles. And they
were just doing cover songs of old rock-n-roll at that time. Man, basically,
everything’s been done. You know everything gets re-hashed and changed
but the way Kingdom Come is original is we don't follow any trends. Right now
you've got Guns-n-Roses. So what happens? You've got a hundred thousand Guns-n-Roses
bands coming out. But in my book, there's room enough for everybody so if that's
what you want to do, that's fine.
Q - Wolf (Kingdom member) said, "I don't drink, don't do drugs,
and don't smoke." How do you guys feel about performing for audiences that
do all of that?
A - If that's what they want to do, that's fine with me. I drink. Everybody
in the band drinks. We have a few beers and drink some Jack Daniels every now
and then. But, as far as the drug thing, we're really not into that. We don't
like pushing it. We actually don't like bands that push that sort of thing,
'cause it makes kids think it's cool to get wasted, it's cool to smoke pot,
it's cool to do blow, and we don't think it's so cool.
NOTE: Shortly after this interview
was conducted, James Kottak left Kingdom Come, other members followed. Founder
Lenny Wolf vows - to carry on, forming a new Kingdom Come. Whether or not
that happens, remains to be seen.
© Gary James All Rights Reserved