AC/DC drummer faces uncertain future
TAURANGA, New Zealand (AP) – AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was the toast of this quiet New Zealand coastal community when he celebrated the launch of his surprise solo album at his marina restaurant, Phil’s Place. Even the mayor was there.
Less than three months later, posters promoting the album plaster the windows of his waterfront home, protecting his privacy, after police raided it earlier this month and filed serious charges against him.
The fans who came to support him after the raid, singing AC/DC songs into the night, have left, and the 60-year-old has become a virtual prisoner in a town that for years had seemed to accept him and his excesses with a knowing wink.
He’s avoided serious consequences from previous brushes with the law, but the stakes are higher this time: He’s charged with threatening to kill, which comes with a maximum prison sentence of seven years, as well as possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. An even more serious charge that alleged Rudd tried to hire a man to kill two people was dropped due to lack of evidence.
There are also questions about Rudd’s future with the Australian band he’s been part of on-and-off for almost four decades.
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young said he hasn’t been in touch with Rudd since his arrest and that his behaviour had been erratic when they were recording their new album Rock or Bust, which is due to be released on December 2.
“He’s got himself in a pickle,” Young said, adding that the band’s tour next year will go on with or without him.
Tabloids have detailed Rudd’s fondness for hookers in a country where prostitution is legal. Gina Davies, Tauranga coordinator for the Prostitutes Collective, said her national office had asked her not to talk about Rudd.
Security guards remain posted at all times at Rudd’s home, where they often relax in their cars with the seats reclined as elderly residents stroll past along the waterfront.
The person police claimed in documents was the would-be hit man works in an industrial neighbourhood. Colleagues say he’s disappeared and is lying low until the publicity blows over. He earlier told Fairfax Media that Rudd felt unsafe after disputes with hookers over payments.
Rudd’s lawyer, Paul Mabey, said the murder-for-hire charge should never have been filed and the damage to his client had been incalculable. He said he was considering possible remedies.
Rudd, meanwhile, is due to appear again in court November 27. He will again face the glare of publicity he has long sought to avoid in the quiet town he’s made home.