Scorpions drummer James Kottak – who has provided the backbeat for the German hard rock band since 1996 – has been arrested in Dubai for insulting Islam. According to a Gulf News report, the Scorpions drummer was scheduled to play with the German heavy metal band at a Formula-1 Grand Prix race in Bahrain. The Scorpions and their drummer were on a layover in Dubai, en route from Moscow.
The Scorpions are best known for a string of hard rock and hair metal hits from the ’80s and early ’90s. “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “No One Like You,” and the ultimate late-Cold War power ballad, “Wind of Change.”
Kottak – who is 51 years old and a father – has denied the charges, which include insulting Islam, mooning passengers, flipping the bird in public and drunkenness – in other words, basic rock star behavior – while walking through an airport in Dubai. The Scorpions drummer has admitted to drinking without an ID – a minor crime in Dubai that earned him a fine. Kottak admitted to drinking five glasses of wine on the flight, according to a report in the Washington Times. For his other alleged crimes, such as insulting Islam, the Scorpions drummer has been sentenced to one month in a Dubai jail.
The Gulf Newsreport quotes a policeman involved in the Scorpions drummer’s April 3 arrest:
“The defendant was complaining loudly about a smell which he claimed was coming from a group of Afghans and Pakistanis. When one of the ground staff told me that she heard him cursing Muslims and that he was acting rowdily, I confiscated his passport and told my supervisor.”
The Scorpions drummer, who claimed he wasn’t trying to moon anybody, but merely trying to show them the tattoo on his back, had this to say about the incident:
“We had just arrived from Moscow and my friend and I were waiting for a bus when we mistakenly reached the transit section. When I asked to leave, the police arrested me because I had consumed liquor. I did not curse Muslims or Islam … I would never do such a thing, even if I was drunk. I do not remember using any foul language and I did not flip my finger. I just lifted up my shirt and showed my tattoo.”
The Scorpions drummer has been in custody since his April 3 arrest in Dubai. The sentence handed down to him is considered light for insulting Islam and it is expected that the Dubai authorities will release and deport him soon.