Phil Rudd of AC/DC Arrested, Again

Phil Rudd ACDC drummer

Photo courtesy of Radio New Zealand/Natalie Mankelow

Phil Rudd of AC/DC Arrested, Again
| published July 20, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, who was arrested in November 2014 and charged with possession of narcotics—and more dramatically accused with seeking to arrange a murder-for-hire—has been arrested again, this time in the coastal town in his home country of New Zealand.

Earlier in the month Rudd had been sentenced to home detention for the previous drugs charges as well as the more serious charges—for which he pleaded guilty after the terms were lowered to threatening to kill another person. He was to spend eight months under house arrest, limited to only his home in Tauranga and monitored using an electronic device. Rudd has also been ordered by the judge in the case to undergo treatment and rehabilitation for drug and alcohol use.

The Associated Press is reporting that Rudd has been arrested again, and though police in New Zealand have not officially made a statement on his detention, some sources are reporting the arrest stems from drug possession charges unrelated to the previous cases. It is also possible, according to some media sources, Rudd violated the terms of his detention. Rudd was released again on bail, and is due back in court on August 3. Rudd’s attorneys have said that “media attention is not helpful.”

Rudd’s legal problems have been more-or-less continuous since late last fall, and have prevented him from recording or performing with the band. His lengthy time spent in jail and in court has also kept him from performing as part of the band’s ironically-named “Rock or Bust” tour in 2015.

The most serious charges he had previously faced this year involved the threat to kill an employee who was participating in the production of a solo album, due to be released this year or next. Rudd pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening to kill a person after the authorities reduced the charge from the more serious “procurement of murder,” which involves making payments to other to facilitate a killing.

Like other members of the hard rock and heavy metal band AC/DC, Rudd was born in Australia, but moved his permanent home to New Zealand in the 1980s. Fired from the band in 1983, he rejoined the original members in 1994 and has been associated with them ever since. The band has used stand-ins for Rudd this year for performances, but it is not clear if he will ever return to the band.

During Rudd’s sentencing in early July, Judge Thomas Ingram had warned Rudd to sober up and steer clear of any violations of the law, especially the conditions established in the home detention. The guidelines of Rudd’s home detention include zero alcohol, zero drugs, and no contact with anyone with a criminal background or a previous arrest. Ingram also warned Russ that even a small infraction would land Rudd in prison.

“I’m not your headmaster, I’m not your father; I’m a judge’” Ingram said during the sentencing, “and there is simply no place to hide.”

Rudd is an original member of the hard rock band AC/DC, which was founded in 1973 by fellow Australians Angus Young and Malcolm Young, and joined a short time later by Rudd and vocalist Bon Scott. The band was immensely popular in the middle and late 1970s, and by the early 80s had become one of the biggest live stage acts in rock. Among the band’s hits are “Highway to Hell,” “High Voltage,” and “Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap.”

Lead singer Bon Scott died in 1980, the result of a drug overdose combined with alcohol-induced pulmonary asphyxiation, and was replaced the next year by Brian Johnson.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review November 6, 2014.

Joe Cocker Dies at 70; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; December 23, 2014.