Phil Rudd, the drummer with legendary rock band AC/DC, has been charged on Thursday in New Zealand with trying to arrange a murder of two people, said Bay of Plenty district’s police spokesperson, Kim Perks.
The drummer was arrested after his house in Tauranga was raided by police at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday morning. The search was ordered after a member of the public contacted authorities, but had no further details. Rudd was ordered to have no contact with the man he allegedly hired to carry out the murders.
Later that day the 60-year-old appeared at the Tauranga District Court in his adopted home of New Zealand and was charged with attempting to procure murder, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. However, a long-time member of one of the world’s highest grossing bands was granted bail and ordered to reappear on November 27.
Details surrounding the identity of the victims and the hitman in the alleged murder plot have been suppressed by the judge. Rudd is also charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill.
Rudd’s lawyer Paul Mabey said he was still getting up to speed on the case and had no comment. Mabey said he was out of town attending a trial when he heard about the charges.
Michael Browning, the band’s ex-manager, told the Daily Mail Australia it was a “bit of a shock, but there you go,” after hearing the news of the arrest.
Shocked fans reacted on social media, expressing concerns about the future of the band, which is still recovering from the retirement of founding member Malcolm Young in September after he entered a Sydney care facility suffering from dementia.
“This is so shocking I hope its not true but I will be praying for u guys and I hope yalls pull through this and bring him back,” Joseph Anderson wrote on the band’s official Facebook page, which has more than 30 million likes.
AC/DC, formed in 1973 by Malcolm Young and his brother Angus, are one of the world’s biggest-selling musical acts, and in 2003 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band’s new album, titled “Rock or Bust” will be available later this months scheduled for release later this month.
After being kicked out of the band in 1983, Rudd took refuge in New Zealand where he spent his days “racing cars, flying helicopters, and farming.” He then re-joined the hugely successful hard rock band in 1994 and produced three new albums, plus a solo album this year.
Rudd was part of the AC/DC line-up inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and won a Grammy for best hard rock performance with the band for “War Machine” in 2010.