Breaking the Law

AC/DC’s Angus Young on Drummer Phil Rudd: “He’s Not the Phil We’ve Known from the Past.”

  • Axl Rosenberg
Photo credit: Radio New Zealand/Natalie Mankelow
Photo credit: Radio New Zealand/Natalie Mankelow

One of the biggest mysteries surrounding AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd’s recent arrest for possession of cannabis and methamphetine, threatening to kill someone, and trying to procure the murder of two people was this: did AC/DC somehow know that the dude was up to no good? It had previously been reported that Rudd was absent from the shoot for two music videos promoting the band’s new album, Rock or Bust, due to a “family emergency” — but when Rudd was arrested, it seemed almost suspiciously fortuitous that the band had already put some distance between themselves and the drummer.

Now, in a new interview with USA Today, the band provides an answer to this mystery — specifically, that Rudd’s behavior has been an issue for some time now.

Bassist Cliff Williams says that it was “tough” to get Rudd to show up for the Rock or Bust sessions, to which guitarist/mascot Angus Young added:

“It put us in a difficult situation. It put us in a spot where we couldn’t move forward. Does the guy show up? Is he reliable to do his job in good shape? We’ve always been a solid, reliable unit.”

He continues:

“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.”

Even though the most severe of the charges against Rudd have now been dropped, parallels between his story and that of As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis remain. As you may recall, when former AILD/current Wovenwar guitarist Nick Hipa spoke to MetalSucks back in June, he said the following about Lambesis:

“Any dude in a band … they are very aware of their bandmates’ highs and their lows, the strengths of their characters, and their flaws. You kind of just accept each other for it. I think even to the extent that you’re like, ‘Man, y’know, this dude sucks, but he’s got other things going for him.’ But for us, we started to see the degradation of [Lambesis’] character to [the point where it was] like, ‘There’s nothing really redeeming here. This guy is losing touch. What do we do? This is somebody that we’re involved with on multiple levels.’ And so we just tried to keep things together as well as we could, and not let any of those things ruin the band and what we had built. But when [Lambesis was arrested], I think we were surprised, [but] we weren’t shocked like everyone else. This came out of the blue for everyone else… we did not expect things to go as far as they did, but [what Lambesis did] wasn’t completely out of character.”

In other words: obviously, the dudes in As I Lay Dying didn’t know exactly what Lambesis was going to do, but they knew that “something was up,” as the saying goes. It sounds like the same is true of AC/DC and Rudd.

Which makes sense! No one just goes from being a respectable member of society to trying to hire a hitman overnight. The descent from rational behavior into irrational behavior is a gradual one… so of course anyone close to the now-irrational person will note a change.

Interestingly enough, however, the article goes on to say that the band has yet to officially make a decision regarding whether or not they’re going to continue to work with Rudd. Says Young:

“I don’t know the exact situation. … I can only say, from our perspective, that the guy needs to sort himself out.”

It seems unlikely that Rudd will be able to “sort himself out” before the band has to start serious promotional efforts for Rock or Bust, which comes out December 2 — less than a month from now. But I guess we’ll see. Maybe Rudd can get it together in time for the band’s next massive tour.

[via Metal Insider]

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