7 Nov 2014

AC/DC to tour despite Rudd arrest

10:09 am on 7 November 2014

AC/DC will go ahead with its upcoming tour despite the arrest of drummer Phil Rudd in Tauranga yesterday.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd in the Tauranga District Court on Thursday.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd in the Tauranga District Court on Thursday. Photo: RNZ / Natalie Mankelow

Rudd, 60, appeared in the Tauranga District Court charged with trying to procure the murder of two people and threatening to kill one of them. He was also charged with possession of cannabis and methamphetamine.

The band's biographer, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, said Mr Rudd had a colourful past but yesterday's arrest was shock.

"There's been talk about various issues related to Phil over a long time but never in a million years did I think that we'd be talking about him being up on a charge related to procuring a hitman," he told Morning Report.

AC/DC has put out a brief statement saying Rudd's absence would not affect the release of the band's new album, Rock or Bust, due out in December. The band's tour scheduled for next year would go ahead.

"We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking," the statement said. "We have no further comment."

New Zealand police have been fielding calls from the The Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone magazine, among others, over the arrest.

Radio New Zealand's correspondent in New York, Nick Harper, told Morning Report US media was fascinated by the story.

"The tabloid press in America are having a field day focusing on some more of the salicious details of the story," he said.

The band's ex-manager Michael Browning was reported as saying the arrest of Mr Rudd was "a bit of a shock, but there you go".

The Australian-born drummer moved to Tauranga after he was dumped from AC/DC in 1983, and has remained living in the city, despite rejoining the band in 1994.

The charges of trying to procure murder and the threatening to kill relate to incidents on 25 and 26 September. The procurement charges carry a 10-year jail term.

The names of the alleged victims and person involved in the procurement charge were suppressed.

Rudd has been bailed to appear again in court on 27 November.