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Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Jimmy Ratchitt of Kottak from 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at

Congratulations on the release of your CD. How did the Kottak record come about?
Well, as you know or don’t know, Kottak were formerly called Krunk. We put out our first CD in 2000 called Greatest Hits. We kind of took a few years off from doing anything. We had a bunch of songs sitting around. We didn’t have a label. It’s very expensive to record so over a period of a couple of years we recorded when we felt like it. We ended up with about 18 songs and out of those 18, here we have these 12. They just kind of popped out. We recorded when we felt like it. They just came about from several different recording sessions. In addition, too, we’re sitting on probably 150 other songs.
MSJ: Now, is Kottak a replacement for Krunk?
Right. Same band.
MSJ: How did your relationship with Escapii Music come about?
About a year and a half ago, the CD was done. Therapy was done for over a year. In this business, you would have to get a label. We made a finished product; produced it all, got it all together ourselves. Then we had our friend in Germany, Wolfgang Rott of CMM, just take it and say, “hey man, give it to your people. The people that you know here and there and all that and see what they think.” In a matter of about a month or 6 weeks, we had about 4 different labels talking to us. Escapii was one of them. They came up with the best deal and the best compliment. They go “look, we can’t put a label on your music. Don’t change a thing. Do whatever you want. Let’s go!” And we said, “yes.”
MSJ: What is your favorite track off the album?
Today, it has to be “Ripped.” Yesterday it was “Money Changes Everything.” Tomorrow, it’ll be something different.
MSJ: What is next on the agenda for Kottak?
Our record release party is Friday. We’re working on a tour for December but it’s gotten too late so we have to get some kind of tour going in January/February for the states. And then hopefully in March, we’ll be able to get to Europe.
MSJ: When you do the states, will you be doing all the major markets or just California?
Right now, what’s going on is the record is being played on over 130 stations, mostly college stuff. So wherever it’s been played, we’re offered to go and play there.
MSJ: Great. I hope you hit the Midwest, especially Chicago.
We were just talking to someone from Chicago who made us an offer to come out there and play. We have a lot of friends there, too.
MSJ: How did you choose to do “Holiday” as a cover song for the album?
Well, it’s one of my favorite songs. I love that song. As you know or don’t know, my alter ego, James Kottak, is the drummer for the Scorpions. I love that song and I love singing it. It just seems like a logical thing to do. We did it originally kind of like as a joke, screwing around in rehearsal, but we went “this sounds great.” So we did it.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
Let’s see. Avenged Sevenfold. It’s heavy on one end but if you listen to the lyrics and the way the melodies go, it’s pretty not heavy.
MSJ: Is Kottak an ongoing band where you’ll be releasing more CDs?
Absolutely. If it were up to me, we would put out one every 3 months. Right now, we want to re-release our first CD, Krunk Greatest Hits. Then we have a live CD we recorded in Germany that’s been sitting. We picked out another 16 songs we want to record like right now. We’re dying to do it. We have to do the cycle with this album. So, it’s never going to stop. And it hasn’t stopped. We actually started in 1997.
MSJ: What is the last concert you attended as a fan?
I’m drawing a blank. I was in Europe. Who did we see? It was a few weeks ago. I went to see a band called 40 Cycle Hum.
MSJ: What are they like?
They’re like nu-metal.
MSJ: You seem to like many styles of music. Was Kottak specifically supposed to be a power punk band?
We kind of just write. Athena and I write everything. Like “Pink/Soft,” basically that song popped up out of nowhere. I was just kind of banging on the guitar. Athena started singing these weird words. She just makes them up. It’s not like “oh, that’s a punk song.” It’s just whatever comes out and that’s just what this band is about. We kind of write and whatever pops out [we play]. We don’t set out and go “oh, that doesn’t sound punky enough or that doesn’t sound rock enough.” We just write whatever we feel like. A lot of bands screw themselves by trying to say “we’re going to be like Avenged Sevenfold, this or that band.” That’s when you get a stale record. These songs are just songs we write.
MSJ: What is your favorite project or album that you have been associated with other than Kottak?
The Scorpions’ Unbreakable CD. That came out in 2004. I’m really proud of that because I love the record. Also, I co-wrote 4 songs which I’m very proud of. Also, back in Kingdom Come, the first Kingdom Come CD I’m super proud of. And if you want to get ever further back, Montrose Mean. That kind of changed everything for me. Then in between, there’s about another 80-90 CDs I played on but they’re all good.
MSJ: What is your favorite Spinal Tap moment from your career?
There are so many. I don’t know which one to pick. Of course we’ve done the one where we come out of the hotel and we go to get into a limo. We pile in and they knock on the window and the driver goes “guys, this isn’t your car.” That happens a lot.
MSJ: Any last words, Jimmy?
Greg, thanks for the interview and please let people know to visit us at and
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