Phil Rudd, AC/DC's 60-year-old drummer, has been charged by New Zealand police with "procuring a murder."
According to Stuff.co.nz, which reports that Rudd allegedly tried to have two men killed, the charges were brought after police raided Rudd’s home in Mauta, New Zealand, Wednesday morning.
The drummer also has been charged for possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and "threatening to kill."
Rudd said nothing during his brief appearance in Tauranga District Court earlier today (Thursday), after which he was released on bail. He entered no plea to the charges and will reappear in court in three weeks.
According to Stuff.co.nz, one of the alleged victims said he didn't want to comment before speaking to his lawyer; he was with his children and "not in a position to speak."
According to the man who was allegedly approached by Rudd to kill two people, the drummer is a “good fella" who’s “burning the ones who care about him.” The Herald Sun reports that the alleged hitman was a friend of Rudd's; he said the drummer has had some problems.
The man told the Bay of Plenty Times that Rudd would often let him drive his cars—the latest Ferrari and Lamborghini models—as well as going for trips in his helicopter or going out fishing. When asked about murder plot allegations, the man replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The man, whose name hasn’t been identified per court orders, said police contacted him yesterday to let him know Rudd had been arrested, which caused him to reflect on his friend. “The joys of being a rock star, always in the spotlight,” he told the paper. “You’ve got to feel sorry for him, just the expectations everyone has of him. He’s a good fella. He’s got a big heart.”
A police official quoted by SunLive.co.nz said the information that led to the raid on Rudd's home was provided by a member of the public.
The other members of AC/DC issued a statement to Rolling Stone, saying, "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment. Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year."
Rudd was missing during the filming of two music videos for songs from AC/DC’s upcoming studio album, Rock or Bust, and from a press photo the band recently posted on their Facebook page. At the time, the drummer's absence was attributed to a “family emergency.” Rock or Bust will be released December 2.
Rudd is the only Australian-born member of AC/DC. He moved to New Zealand in 1983 after he was kicked out of the band. He re-joined the band in 1994 and has been with them ever since.
AC/DC is already reeling from with the departure of rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year.
Stay tuned for more details on this story, which we will relay as they become available.