AC/DC drummer lives at full speed among retirees

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AC/DC drummer lives at full speed among retirees
FILE - In this Thursday, July 9, 2015 file photo, former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd arrives for sentencing at the Tauranga District Court in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd has been arrested in New Zealand, just 10 days after he was sentenced to home detention for threatening to kill a man who used to work for him. The New Zealand Herald reported Sunday, July 20 that Rudd was arrested at his New Zealand home on Saturday, though police refused to comment on the nature of the arrest. (Alan Gibson/New Zealand Herald via AP, File) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd stands in the dock at a court in Tauranga, New Zealand, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Rudd pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to kill a man who used to work for him. He also pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. (Christine Cornege/New Zealand Herald via AP) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, center, arrives at a court in Tauranga, New Zealand Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Rudd pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to kill a man who used to work for him. He also pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)
Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd stands in the dock as faces charges at the High Court in Tauranga, New Zealand on November 26, 2014. The 60-year-old Australian, who has lived in Tauranga for over 30 years, hit the headlines on November 6 when he appeared in court accused of attempting to hire a hitman to kill two people, as well as the charges he still faces. The more serious charge of attempting to procure murder that police laid was dropped the day after his first court appearance, Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones having decided there was insufficient evidence. AFP PHOTO / MARTY MELVILLE (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd talks to members of the media after leaving Tauranga District Court after appearing in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd talks to members of the media after leaving Tauranga District Court after appearing in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd gestures to members of the media after leaving Tauranga District Court after appearing in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after appearing in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 26: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd talks to members of the media after leaving Tauranga District Court after appearing in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd hides behind a body guard as he leaves court after faces charges at the High Court in Tauranga, New Zealand on November 26, 2014. The 60-year-old Australian, who has lived in Tauranga for over 30 years, hit the headlines on November 6 when he appeared in court accused of attempting to hire a hitman to kill two people, as well as the charges he still faces. The more serious charge of attempting to procure murder that police laid was dropped the day after his first court appearance, Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones having decided there was insufficient evidence. AFP PHOTO / MARTY MELVILLE (Photo credit should read Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, Phil Rudd, drummer for the rock band AC/DC, gestures from a window at his house in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd was the toast of this quiet New Zealand coastal community when he celebrated the launch of his surprise solo album at his marina restaurant, Phil’s Place. Even the mayor was there. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, John Borren, File) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
In this Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 photo, security guards stand by at the home of Phil Rudd, drummer for the rock band AC/DC, in Tauranga, New Zealand. New Zealand prosecutors on Friday backtracked by dropping a murder-for-hire charge against Rudd, saying there wasn't enough evidence to proceed. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, John Borren) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
In this Nov. 9, 2014 photo, a security guard drives past Phil Rudd's waterfront home in Tauranga, New Zealand. The AC/DC drummer faces serious charges and remains secluded in a quiet town that had seemed to accept him and his excesses. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)
AC/DC rock group with drummer Phil Rudd in 1978
Drummer Phil Rudd of the Australian rock group AC/DC on August 24, 1977 at the Academy of Music in New York City.
November 7, 2008 - Toronto, Ont AC DC with drummer Phil Rudd play in front of 45,000 plus screaming fans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada as part of their 2008/09 Black Ice World Tour. Ray Miller / Southcreek EMI / Zuma Press
November 7, 2008 - Toronto, Ont AC DC plays in front of 45,000 plus screaming fans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada as part of their 2008/09 Black Ice World Tour. Ray Miller / Southcreek EMI / Zuma Press
July 12, 2011 - Hollywood, California, U.S. - K19745MR.AC/DC (BRIAN JOHNSON, PHIL RUDD, ANGUS YOUNG, MALCOLM YOUNG, C. WILLIAMS).Inducted ''Rockwalk''.Hollywood, CA. 2000(Credit Image: © Milan Ryba/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Phil Rudd, the drummer for rock band AC/DC, leaves a court house in Tauranga, New Zealand, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, after being charged with attempting to procure murder. The 60-year-old has also been charged with threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana. (AP Photo/Bay Of Plenty Times via The New Zealand Herald, George Novak) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
FILE - This June 17, 2003 file photo shows Australian rock band AC/DC, from left, Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, and Cliff Williams performing on stage during a concert in Munich, southern Germany. The band says Young is not returning to the band after he announced he was taking a break from the group to focus on his health in April. A Wednesday statement from the band's label said: "Unfortunately, due to the nature of Malcolm's condition, he will not be returning to the band." AC/DC will release the album "Rock or Bust" on Dec. 2. (AP Photo/Jan Pitman, File)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after being charged with attempting to procure murder at Tauranga District Court on November 6, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was AC/DC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after being charged with attempting to procure murder at Tauranga District Court on November 6, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was AC/DC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after being charged with attempting to procure murder at Tauranga District Court on November 6, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was AC/DC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court after being charged with attempting to procure murder at Tauranga District Court on November 6, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Phil Rudd was AC/DC's drummer from 1975 to 1983. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images)
ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND - MARCH 13: Brian Johnson (L) and Angus Young of AC/DC performing on stage at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Holland on March 13 2009. (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)
INGLEWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 21: AC/DC performs during the Ballbreaker tour at the Forum in Inglewood, California on February 21, 1996. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 01: (NEW ZEALAND NEWSPAPERS OUT) AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd (R) leaves Tauranga District Court following his conviction for cannabis possession on December 1, 2010 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd, charged under his legal name of Phillip Witschke, was found in possession of 27g of the drug after a police search at his launch at the Tauranga Bridge Marina on October 7. The conviction could affect his ability to travel with AC/DC internationally in future. (Photo by The Sun/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 01: (NEW ZEALAND NEWSPAPERS OUT) AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court following his conviction for cannabis possession on December 1, 2010 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd, charged under his legal name of Phillip Witschke, was found in possession of 27g of the drug after a police search at his launch at the Tauranga Bridge Marina on October 7. The conviction could affect his ability to travel with AC/DC internationally in future. (Photo by The Sun/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 01: (NEW ZEALAND NEWSPAPERS OUT) AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court following his conviction for cannabis possession on December 1, 2010 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd, charged under his legal name of Phillip Witschke, was found in possession of 27g of the drug after a police search at his launch at the Tauranga Bridge Marina on October 7. The conviction could affect his ability to travel with AC/DC internationally in future. (Photo by The Sun/Getty Images)
TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 01: (NEW ZEALAND NEWSPAPERS OUT) AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd leaves Tauranga District Court following his conviction for cannabis possession on December 1, 2010 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Rudd, charged under his legal name of Phillip Witschke, was found in possession of 27g of the drug after a police search at his launch at the Tauranga Bridge Marina on October 7. The conviction could affect his ability to travel with AC/DC internationally in future. (Photo by The Sun/Getty Images)
DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 11: Phil Rudd of AC/DC performs on stage on the first day of the Download Festival at Donington Park on June 11, 2010 in Derby, England. (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)
SAN ANTONIO - DECEMBER 12: Drummer Phil Rudd of the Australian band AC/DC performs in concert at the AT&T Center on December 12, 2008 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/FilmMagic)
AC/DC's Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Brian Johnson with Justin Timberlake (center-right) ***Exclusive*** (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
378457 13: Band members from left: Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams of the Australian rock band AC-DC pose September 15, 2000 at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 12: Band members from left: Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams of the Australian rock band AC-DC pose September 15, 2000 at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 11: Band members from left: Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams of the Australian rock band AC-DC pose September 15, 2000 at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 10: Band members from left: Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams of the Australian rock band AC-DC at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony September 15, 2000 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 09: Band members from left: Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams of the Australian rock band AC-DC pose September 15, 2000 at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 07: Band member Phil Rudd of the Australian rock band AC-DC poses September 15, 2000 at the Rock Walk handprint ceremony at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. (Photo /Newsmakers)
378457 01: Members of the Australian rock band AC-DC pose for a photograph after the Rock Walk handprint ceremony September 15, 2000 at the Guitar Center in Hollywood, Ca. From left: Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, Angus Young and Phil Rudd. (Photo / Newsmakers)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Photo of AC DC and Phil RUDD and Malcolm YOUNG and Cliff WILLIAMS and Brian JOHNSON and Angus YOUNG and AC/DC; L-R: Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, posed, studio, group shot at Rockwalk Induction (Photo by Robert Knight Archive/Redferns)
Heavy rock group AC/DC performing on tour in Europe, 1980. Left to right: rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, singer Brian Johnson, drummer Phil Rudd, guitarist Angus Young and bassist Cliff Williams. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
LONDON - 1st AUGUST: Australian rock band AC/DC posed in a studio in London in August 1979. Left to right: Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON - 1st AUGUST: Drummer Phil Rudd from Australian rock band AC/DC posed in a studio in London in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON - 1st AUGUST: Drummer Phil Rudd from Australian rock band AC/DC posed in a studio in London in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON - 1st AUGUST: Australian rock band AC/DC posed in a studio in London in August 1979. Left to right: Bon Scott, Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Bon Scott, Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in London, England in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Bon Scott, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young and Cliff Williams of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in London, England in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Bon Scott, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young and Cliff Williams of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in London, England in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Malcolm Young, Bon Scott, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in London, England in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Bon Scott, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young and Cliff Williams of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in London, England in August 1979. (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (left to right) Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd, Angus Young, Cliff Williams and Bon Scott of Australian rock band AC/DC pose in Camden, London in August 1979 . (Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns)
Phil Rudd y Cliff Williams
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TAURANGA, New Zealand (AP) - AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was the toast of this quiet New Zealand coastal community when he celebrated the launch of his surprise solo album at his marina restaurant, Phil's Place. Even the mayor was there.

Less than three months later, posters promoting the album plaster the windows of his waterfront home, protecting his privacy, after police raided it earlier this month and filed serious charges against him. The fans who came to support him after the raid, singing AC/DC songs into the night, have left, and the 60-year-old has become a virtual prisoner in a town that for years had seemed to accept him and his excesses with a knowing wink.

He's avoided serious consequences from previous brushes with the law, but the stakes are higher this time: He's charged with threatening to kill, which comes with a maximum prison sentence of seven years, as well as possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. An even more serious charge that alleged Rudd tried to hire a man to kill two people was dropped due to lack of evidence.

There are also questions about Rudd's future with the Australian band he's been part of on-and-off for almost four decades.

AC/DC guitarist Angus Young said he hasn't been in touch with Rudd since his arrest and that his behavior had been erratic when they were recording their new album "Rock or Bust," which is due to be released on Dec. 2.

"He's got himself in a pickle," Young said, adding that the band's tour next year will go on with or without him.

Rudd has long tried to live out the male adolescent dreams that form the fabric of the straightforward rock songs of AC/DC.

But surprisingly he's done in it in a place that has long attracted retirees, drawn by the pleasant weather, the nearby beaches, and the quiet. Tauranga is home to just 115,000 people, although boosters like to point out more young people are coming and it will soon be this small nation's fifth-biggest city.

Rudd has described how he spent his first big paycheck on a Ferrari, before even buying a house. He's collected many more toys since then - a hangar at the town's airport to fit in his luxury sports cars and his helicopter, a motorboat moored near his restaurant.

Tabloids have detailed his fondness for hookers in a country where prostitution is legal. Gina Davies, Tauranga coordinator for the Prostitutes Collective, said her national office had asked her not to talk about Rudd.

Security guards remain posted at all times at Rudd's home, where they often relax in their cars with the seats reclined as elderly residents stroll past along the waterfront.

The person police claimed in documents was the would-be hit man works in an industrial neighborhood. Colleagues say he's disappeared and is laying low until the publicity blows over. He earlier told Fairfax Media that Rudd felt unsafe after disputes with hookers over payments.

Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey, said the murder-for-hire charge should never have been filed and the damage to his client had been incalculable. He said he was considering possible remedies.

That Rudd's lifestyle was taking a toll on him became apparent when he ventured out of his preferred seclusion in August to promote his solo album "Head Job." His fans were shocked. He seemed to have aged years, his face appearing hollow and sunken.

In interviews, he didn't bother wearing dentures and mumbled his way through answers.

"I'll give up smoking when I die, and I'll settle down when I die," he told television station TV3, as he attempted to keep the pink marshmallows in his hot chocolate out of the camera frame. "Until then, I'm gonna have a good time. All the way. All the way."

Rudd's home is modern and luxurious but not ostentatious.

Neighbor Malcolm Young, 70, who is no relation to AC/DC's co-founder with the same name, said Rudd laughed when he first introduced himself because of the coincidence of his name.

He said he sees the young women coming and going and hears Rudd's cars roaring past, but otherwise isn't much bothered by his famous neighbor. And he says Rudd, who has six children, has brought his cars to charity events over the years to help raise money.

"We knew he was the drummer, but it didn't make a difference," said Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby. "He was just another father with his sons."

There were times when Rudd's lifestyle would catch up with him.

In 1988, an English judge ordered Rudd to pay model Lorraine Irish about $26,000 after Rudd, during a barbecue party in Sydney, took the model for a spin on a speedboat and crashed into a moored yacht, catapulting her out of the boat. She told the judge the resulting scar on her leg made it impossible for her to keep modeling swimwear, lingerie and stockings.

In 2010, Rudd was caught with 25 grams (1 ounce) of pot on his boat in Tauranga but convinced a judge to cancel the conviction after arguing it would prevent him from touring with the band, affectionately known Down Under as "Acca Dacca."

In 2012, he threw a tantrum at his restaurant after workers delivered an antipasto platter to his hangar instead of his boat. He stormed in, kicking doors and trash bins, cursing at his staff, and fired three of them on the spot. A security guard took away the meals from remaining diners. The Employment Relations Authority ordered Rudd to pay the unfairly fired workers about $57,000.

And this year he was accused of lying after he tried to renew his pilot's license and said on a form he had no history of drug use. A judge said he was very suspicious of Rudd's answers, but that wasn't proof enough to convict him.

Those who've met Rudd say he's always been low-key, which is perhaps why Tauranga suited him. Born in Australia, Rudd has lived in the region since 1983, when he had a blow-out fight with guitarist Malcolm Young and left the band. He rejoined again 11 years later.

"He was a very quiet person," said Tony Currenti, AC/DC's drummer before Rudd. "He did his talking through his drumming."

But AC/DC was also a band with big ambitions, according to another former band drummer, Noel Taylor.

"It was mainly Malcolm who would say, 'Forget Australia. We are going to be a worldwide band,'" Taylor said.

And Rudd enjoyed the ride.

"We nailed it. No one's ever done what AC/DC did out of anywhere, really," he told the website Noise11 when promoting his solo album. "Conquered the world, mate, that was the idea from the start. A little Napoleon in all of us."

There were signs things weren't right with Rudd and the band even before his arrest. Jesse Fink, who wrote the book "The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC," said he was "gobsmacked" Rudd had done a solo album given the total commitment demanded by AC/DC and the fact no other band member had tried one before.

Fink said he was even more shocked by Rudd's appearance.

"To anyone who has followed the band, it seemed like he had aged 20 years in the last three years," he said. "The fans I spoke to said, 'Oh my god, I can't believe that's Phil.'"

Rudd, meanwhile, is due to appear again in court Nov. 27. He will again face the glare of publicity he has long sought to avoid in the quiet town he's made home.

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