AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd rubbishes hitman-hiring allegations

Phil Rudd faces charges of threatening to kill and drug possession in New Zealand and fellow band members, including guitarist Angus Young, have hinted he will be dropped for AC/DC's upcoming world tour. -- PHOTO: AFP
Phil Rudd faces charges of threatening to kill and drug possession in New Zealand and fellow band members, including guitarist Angus Young, have hinted he will be dropped for AC/DC's upcoming world tour. -- PHOTO: AFP

Wellington (AFP) - AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd described allegations he tried to hire a hitman as "ludicrous" Monday and said he wanted to keep his job with the top-selling rock band.

Rudd faces charges of threatening to kill and drug possession in New Zealand and fellow band members, including guitarist Angus Young, have hinted he will be dropped for AC/DC's upcoming world tour.

The 60-year-old drummer said he wanted to remain part of the band he first joined in 1975 after his arrest last month.

"I want my job back and I want my reputation back and I'm going to get them," he told TVNZ.

Rudd was also accused of "attempting to procure murder" by hiring a hitman, but the charge was dropped after less than 24 hours due to insufficient evidence.

"It's all wrong and I'm very upset about the whole thing. It's ludicrous, ludicrous - as if I'd need anybody to do that," he said.

Rudd, who has lived in the New Zealand North Island seaside town of Tauranga since 1983, has pleaded not guilty to the drugs and threatening to kill charges, the latter of which carries a jail term of up to seven years.

He also rejected media reports that his legal woes stemmed from a dispute over dealings with prostitutes, describing himself as "a good guy".

"This has just been a big ball of cheese and all the rats are gathering and having a piece," he said. "That's not who I am." Rudd, who played on hits including Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap and Highway To Hell, is free on bail and will be back in court to have his case reviewed on Feb 10.

Rudd's lawyer has said his client's reputation has suffered "incalculable damage" due to sensational worldwide publicity surrounding the case, adding that they are considering "any possible remedies he may have".

AC/DC plan a world tour next year to promote their latest album Rock Or Bust and any conviction for Rudd could prevent him from taking part.

Angus Young, whose brother Malcolm left the band this year suffering from dementia, has said Rudd's potentially lengthy court case would definitely not stop them from hitting the road next year.