Phil Rudd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Phil Rudd
Rudd performing live with AC/DC in 1995.
Background information
Birth name Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis
Born (1954-05-19) 19 May 1954 (age 60)
Melbourne, Australia
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, rock and roll
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals
Years active 1972–1983, 1994–present
Associated acts Buster Brown
Notable instruments
Sonor Drums
Paiste Cymbals

Phillip Hugh Norman Rudd (born Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis;[1] 19 May 1954) is a New Zealand-based Australian drummer, best known for his membership in Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1975 until 1983, and again since 1994 although he has not participated in band activities since the recording of the Rock or Bust album. Upon the 1977 departure of bass guitarist Mark Evans from AC/DC, Rudd became the only Australian-born member of the band. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other members of AC/DC. Due to ongoing legal problems in New Zealand, Rudd was unable to join the band for the 2015 Rock or Bust tour and was replaced by Chris Slade.


Born to Lithuanian parents on 19 May 1954, in Melbourne, Rudd began playing drums in his teens and became quite serious about pursuing a career in music.[2] He played in several bands in Melbourne before joining Buster Brown with future Rose Tattoo vocalist Angry Anderson.[3] They went on to release one album, Something To Say, in 1974, before Rudd left to join the Coloured Balls with Lobby Loyde.

In 1974 Rudd was told about AC/DC's rhythm section auditions by his former Coloured Balls bandmate Trevor Young (no relation to AC/DC's Young brothers). Rudd asked Buster Brown bassist Geordie Leach to accompany him to the auditions, but Leach refused due to other commitments. Rudd auditioned and was hired immediately.[4] Rudd's drumming style suited the band's style of music and became an integral part of AC/DC's sound from 1975 to 1983.[5] The band relocated to the United Kingdom in 1976 and followed a heavy schedule of international touring and recording.

Leaving AC/DC[edit]

In 1980, AC/DC's vocalist Bon Scott died. The band continued on, recruiting new vocalist Brian Johnson and subsequently recording their most successful album, 1980's Back in Black. Good friends, Rudd took Scott's death badly, but continued on with AC/DC until he left the band during the recording of the Flick of the Switch album in 1983. Rudd had completed his contributions to the album, and although session drummer B.J. Wilson was recruited to help complete the recording, Wilson's drum parts were ultimately not used. Simon Wright was soon hired as Rudd's permanent replacement, and featured in the videos that accompanied the singles released from the album.

Rudd's 1983 sacking from AC/DC was partly the result of his own personal problems as well as a conflict with the band's rhythm guitarist and founder Malcolm Young, which allegedly escalated to become physical. Following his firing, Rudd retired to Tauranga, New Zealand where he purchased a helicopter company.[6] Rudd's departure from AC/DC didn't become widely known until the eve of their North American tour in 1983. In the last few pages of Circus Magazine's October 1983 edition it stated "Phil Rudd exits AC/DC"..."to spend more time with his family and his cars". Guitarist Angus Young was quoted in the same article as saying "We're a rowdy bunch, but we don't fight with each other".[7] Vocalist Brian Johnson added in a Hit Parader interview from the same period that "You couldn't find a more solid person or drummer than Phil Rudd. None of us would have to work if we didn't want to....Phil chose that option".[8]

On his years away from AC/DC, Rudd has said, "I raced cars, flew helicopters, became a farmer and planted some crops. I lived in New Zealand which was great; nice and quiet with nobody bothering me." Rudd also continued to play drums, "when I wanted to rather than when I had to", and built his own recording studio.[6]

Rejoining AC/DC[edit]

Phil Rudd with AC/DC on 23 November 2008 in St. Paul, MN.

When AC/DC toured New Zealand in 1991 in support of their Razors Edge album, they called Rudd to see if he would be interested in joining them for a casual jam session. Rudd accepted their offer. Though there was no discussion of him rejoining the group at the time, Rudd would be invited to permanently rejoin AC/DC in late 1993 following the recording of the Big Gun single for the Last Action Hero movie soundtrack.[2]

AC/DC welcomed Rudd back following Chris Slade's term as the band's drummer. The band praised Slade for his performance and technical ability, but maintained that a certain groove had been missing from AC/DC's music since Rudd's departure in 1983. Since rejoining the band, he has performed on four AC/DC studio albums, Ballbreaker, Stiff Upper Lip, Black Ice, and Rock or Bust, with Black Ice being the band's biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock We Salute You in 1981.

Solo album[edit]

Rudd's first solo album, Head Job, was released on 29 August 2014.[9]

Recent events[edit]

Drug conviction and appeal[edit]

On 1 December 2010, Rudd was convicted of possessing 25g of marijuana on his boat in Tauranga, New Zealand,[10] but later had his cannabis conviction quashed on the grounds that it would have stopped him from continuing to tour with AC/DC.[11]


On 30 July 2011, it was announced that the drummer had purchased and would open a marina restaurant at Bridge Marina in Tauranga, where he resides. He named it "Phil's Place", and planned on selling seafood and top-quality steak.[12] The restaurant closed temporarily in July 2012, and was scheduled to reopen before the end of the year.[13] It was still closed at end of March 2013,[14] but reopened on 10 April.[15] In 2014 Rudd was ordered to pay more than $70,000 to three former employees for unjustified dismissal.[16]

Threatening to kill and drug charges[edit]

On 6 November 2014 Rudd was charged with attempting to procure a murder, threatening to kill, possession of methamphetamine and possession of cannabis, following a police raid on his home.[17][18] The charge of attempting to procure a murder was withdrawn the following day, but the other charges remained.[19]

AC/DC released a statement clarifying that the tour promoting Rock or Bust would continue, but did not say whether or not Rudd would participate, or if he was still a member of the band.[20] In an interview on 13 November 2014, Angus Young stated that the band had experienced problems with Rudd earlier in the year when recording Rock or Bust, and that his situation had taken the band by surprise. Rudd had also missed video and photo shoots, and with reference to Rudd's future in the band, Young added, "So, at this stage, it's a pretty tough call for us."[21] He also said the band would continue: "He's got to sort himself out I think... At this point it's kind of a question mark. But if we're touring, there will be a drummer in place, put it that way."[22] In the same interview, Young also said, "Phil created his own situation. It's a hard thing to say about the guy. He's a great drummer, and he's done a lot of stuff for us. But he seems to have let himself go. He's not the Phil we've known from the past."[23]

On 27 November 2014, Rudd arrived late for a scheduled bail hearing at the Tauranga High Court, prompting Justice Timothy Brewer to issue an arrest warrant. This was withdrawn when Rudd appeared a few minutes later. Because of the reduced seriousness of the charges, the case was referred back to the Tauranga District Court. Several reporters referred to his "bizarre" behaviour during the hearing and afterwards.[24][25] The following week Rudd's lawyer Paul Mabey filed not guilty pleas on his behalf; a hearing date was set for 10 February 2015, with indications that a judge only trial was likely.[26] Rudd said that he would fight the charges, describing them as "ludicrous", and expressed a desire to rejoin the band.[27]However, his ongoing court case led to the recruitment of AC/DC's former drummer Chris Slade for the 2015 Grammy Awards performance and the subsequent Rock or Bust tour. The band have issued no statement as to whether or not his departure is permanent.


Rudd uses Sonor drums, Paiste cymbals, Evans drumheads and Easton Ahead drumsticks.[citation needed]

Tour kit (2008–2010)[edit]

  • Drums:[28]
    • Sonor Designer Series, Maple Light Shells, Solid Black Finish:
      • 22×18" Bass Drum
      • 13×13" Tom Tom
      • 16×18" Floor Tom
      • 18×18" Floor Tom
    • Sonor Signature Series Horst Link 14×5" Snare (Brass Shell, Die Cast Hoops)
    • Sonor Phil Rudd Signature 14×5" Snare (Chrome over Brass Shell, Die Cast Hoops)
  • Cymbals:[29]
    • Paiste 2002:
      • 14" Paiste Sound Formula Reflector Heavy Hi-Hat
      • 20" Crash
      • 19" Crash
      • 20" Crash
      • 20" Crash
      • 19" Crash
      • 19" Crash
      • 19" Crash

On their earlier albums, notably Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,[citation needed] Rudd occasionally used a Ride cymbal, but quit using one later in his career.

  • Drumheads:
    • Evans Drumheads:
      • Bass Drum: EQ2
      • Toms: Clear G2 on the batter side, EC Resonant on the resonant side
      • Snare: EC Reverse Dot on the batter side, Hazy 300 on the resonant side, PureSound "Blasters" Snare Wire
  • Hardware:[28]
    • Sonor 600 Series:
      • DT 670 Drum Throne
      • SS 677 Snare Stand
      • CBS 672 Cymbal Boom Stands (6x)
      • CBA 672 Cymbal Boom Arm
    • Sonor GSP 3 Giant Step Bass Drum Pedal
    • Sonor 5000 Series Double Tom Stand
    • Sonor 5000 Series Hi-Hat Stand
  • Past Kits:

His Back in Black Touring kit:

      • 22×14" Bass Drum
      • 12×9", 13×10", and 14×11" Toms
      • 16×16 and 18×18" Floor Toms
      • 14×5.5 Snare
  • Past Drum Heads REMO
      • Coated Emperors on the batter
      • Coated Ambassadors on the resonant
      • Clear Controlled Sound over a Hazy Ambassador on the snare "Phil's known for having a clear dot snarehead."

Further reading[edit]

  • Walker, Clinton (1994), Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott, Verse Chorus Press, ISBN 0-283-06263-0 
  • Stenning, Paul; Johnstone, Rob (2005). AC/DC: Two Sides to Every Glory: The Complete Biography. Chrome Dreams. ISBN 1-84240-308-7. 


  1. ^ "Bio at". Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Phil Rudd Biography
  3. ^ Holmgren, Magnus. "Buster Brown". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Engleheart, Murray AC/DC – Maximum Rock N Roll 2003 ISBN 0-7322-8383-3
  5. ^ McFarlane, Ian (1999) Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop 'AC/DC' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 August 2004). Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Metal Hammer & Classic Rock present AC/DC", Metal Hammer magazine special, 2005
  7. ^ Circus, Oct. 1983
  8. ^ Hit Parader, Nov. 1983
  9. ^ "AC/DC drummer goes solo". Triple M Rock Radio. 16 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "AC/DC drummer convicted of drug possession – National – NZ Herald News". 1 December 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "AC/DC drummer's appeal succeeds – National – NZ Herald News". 1 April 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Graham Skellern (30 July 2011). "AC/DC star buys marina restaurant | Bay of Plenty News | Local News in Bay of Plenty". Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd's "Phil's Place" restaurant will be reopened". Black Ice Tour Fan News. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "Phil's Place payment dispute". Bay of Plenty Times. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "AC/DC rocker's restaurant reopens". SunLive. 10 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "AC/DC drummer ordered to pay Tauranga staff". TVNZ. 
  17. ^ Tony Wall (6 November 2014). "AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd on procuring murder charge". Fairfax Media. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Katie Kenny (7 November 2014). "AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd: Procuring murder charge dropped". Fairfax Media. 
  20. ^ "What now for AC/DC, after Phil Rudd's arrest and Malcolm Young's retirement?". The Guardian. 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "AC/DC bandmates shun Phil Rudd". The Australian. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "AC/DC 'had issues' with drummer Phil Rudd". BBC. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "AC/DC's Angus Young would be 'aghast' at Phil Rudd". The Age. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Bizarre scene as AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd appears in court on drug charges". Consequence of Sound. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "AC/DC's Phil Rudd turns up late for court and jumps on security guard's back". The Guardian. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd defends threatening to kill charge". NZ Herald. 2 December 2014. 
  27. ^ Ruth Wynn-Williams (22 December 2014). "Phil Rudd's plans tonight? 'Lots of fornicating'". TVNZ. 
  28. ^ a b "What kit does Phil Rudd (AC/DC) play on the "Black Ice" Tour?, SONOR Website, 19 February 2009". Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Phil Rudd's Artist Profile, Paiste Website". 8 February 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  • Circus Magazine, October 1983: 'Phil Rudd Exits AC/DC'
  • Hit Parader, November 1983: 'AC/DC – To Hell And Back'

External links[edit]