RIP Adan Canto

Adan Canto, the Mexican-American actor who parlayed his music career in Mexico into becoming a Hollywood leading man, died Jan. 8 after a private battle with appendiceal cancer. He was 42. He portrayed¬†Sunspot¬†in the 2014 superhero film¬†X-Men: Days of Future Past, Paul Torres on the¬†Fox¬†drama series¬†The Following, and AJ Menendez in the¬†ABC¬†prime-time series¬†Blood & Oil. He appeared as¬†Rodrigo Lara Bonilla¬†in the¬†Netflix¬†drama series¬†Narcos, Aaron Shore in the ABC/Netflix¬†political drama¬†Designated Survivor, and starred on Fox’s The Cleaning Lady¬†until his death.

Canto wrote and directed his first short film¬†Before Tomorrow¬†in 2014. His short film¬†The Shot earned several festival awards for Best Narrative Short Film in 2020.¬† Born in Ciudad Acu√Īa, Coahuila, Mexico to Mexican parents, Canto crossed the border daily as a child to attend an American Catholic school in¬†Del Rio, Texas. He grew up riding horses at his grandfather’s ranch in¬†Acu√Īa¬†where his father was a¬†charro. With the encouragement of his mother, Canto began performing on stage as a singer at the age of 7. Canto began acting in a handful of commercials in Mexico City and was soon cast in a television series called¬†Estado de Gracia. Canto eventually turned to the stage after being cast as a lead in the adaptation of¬†Pedro Almod√≥var’s¬†All About My Mother.

In 2019, Canto was cast opposite Halle Berry in her highly anticipated directorial debut film Bruised. His declining health prevented him from immediately rejoining the cast for the show The Cleaning Lady’s third season, although, at the time of his death, he had planned to eventually return to the show. Canto met the American sculptor and painter Stephanie Lindquist in 2012 while filming¬†The Following¬† in Brooklyn, New York. Their first artistic collaboration was the short film¬†Before Tomorrow¬†in 2014. The two married in June 2017, and lived in the¬†Hollywood Hills. They had their first child in 2020, and their second in 2022. Canto died of¬†appendiceal cancer¬†on January 8, 2024, at the age of 42.

RIP James Kottak

Drummer James Kottak, best known for his stints in the hard rock bands¬†Scorpions and Kingdom Come, has died. He was 61. A cause of death was not given. Kottak’s former band Scorpions mourned the musician’s death in a¬†Facebook post Tuesday. The American drummer is best known for his work with the German hard rock¬†band¬†Scorpions, which he joined in 1996. At the time of his firing from the band in 2016, he was their all-time longest-serving drummer, surpassing¬†Herman Rarebell, who had spent 19 years in the band. Kottak was also an original member of¬†Kingdom Come, of whom he was their drummer from 1987 to 1989 and again from 2018 to his death in 2024, and he had his own band¬†Kottak, formerly known as KrunK. Other bands Kottak played for were¬†Montrose,¬†Warrant,¬†Dio,¬†The Cult, the¬†McAuley Schenker Group,¬†Buster Brown, and¬†Wild Horses.

Prior to joining Scorpions, Kottak was a drummer for the Bob Brickley Band, Nut House, Mister Charlie,¬† Buster Brown, Montrose, Kingdom Come, The Cult, Wild Horses, the McAuley Schenker Group, Warrant, and Ashba. He gained early mainstream exposure during his time with Kingdom Come, appearing on the band’s first two studio albums, the first of which included their biggest hit, “Get It On”. This track prominently features Kottak’s drumming, culminating in a drum solo just before the song’s conclusion. Around 1990, Kottak joined The Cult, but left after the first batch of demos for their then-upcoming fifth studio album Ceremony, in which the album’s drum tracks were done by Mickey Curry.

In February 1997, he helped Dio on their U.S. tour by replacing Vinny Appice for four or five shows when the latter had pneumonia. He also gave drum lessons at Far-Out Music in Jeffersonville, Indiana, once having as a students onetime Bride drummer, Jerry McBroom. He also played with guitarist Michael Lee Firkins. Prior to joining German rockers Scorpions, Kottak joined Warrant an played drums on their 1995 albu Ultraphobic. With the Scorpions he played on 6 studio albums, 3 live albums including the very popular Acoustica and 1 compilation album. In April 2016 former Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee replaced Kottak on 12 North American headlining dates, including a run of shows at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas dubbed “Scorpions blacked out in Las Vegas” before the band announcing Kottak’s leaving the band in September.

It is believed that the reason for his firing was due to his alcoholism and some of his controversial statements in April 29, 2014, the¬†National Post reported via the Associated Press that also led Kottak had been arrested in Dubai and sentenced to one month in jail for offensive behavior, insulting Islam, and public drunkenness. After he left Scorpions, he spoke out negatively about immigrants to the US, Black Americans in commercials and against Interracial couples. Kottak was married to¬†Athena Bass,¬†Tommy Lee’s younger sister, who is also a drummer and was a fellow member of Kottak. The couple had three children between them, including their son, Matthew, and Athena’s two children from two prior relationships. Miles is currently the drummer for indie rock band¬†Bad Suns.