Contact Us

Bad Boy Boogie: A Phil Rudd Timeline

Phil Rudd
Getty Images

The shocking arrest of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has put his professional future in doubt. It is the latest — and the most serious — in a series of recent brushes with the law for Rudd.

With the band releasing a statement which suggests that his second stint with them has come to an end, we’ve assembled this timeline that brings together some of the more noteworthy moments in Rudd’s life:

May 19, 1954: Phil Rudd (full name: Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis) is born in Melbourne, Australia.

1973: He forms Buster Brown with future Rose Tattoo singer Gary “Angry” Anderson.

December 1974: After recording one album (‘Something to Say’) with Buster Brown, Rudd auditions for and joins AC/DC. Over the next decade, the group become international superstars.

April 1983: Rudd parts ways with AC/DC after recording his drum parts for the album ‘Flick of the Switch.’ Reports vary as to whether he quit or was fired, but drug and alcohol abuse, as well as personality conflicts with guitarist Malcolm Young, have been cited as factors for his departure.

1994: He rejoins AC/DC after being invited to several informal jam sessions by Malcolm and Angus Young. Beginning with 1995’s ‘Ballbreaker,’ Rudd has appeared on every studio album and tour since that time.

Oct. 7, 2010: Rudd is caught by police with 25 grams of cannabis aboard his boat in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is convicted for possession of marijuana that December, but in April of 2011 the conviction was wiped from his record after it was argued that it would keep him from traveling abroad for AC/DC tours.

July 2011: He branches out into a new venture by announcing that he will open a seafood restaurant in Tauranga called “Phil’s Place.”

July 2012: Three employees at Phil’s Place are fired following an incident in which his dinner order was delivered to his airport hangar instead of his boat. Rudd reportedly verbally abused the staff and kicked the back door and a garbage can. He is subsequently sued for wrongful termination, and the restaurant is closed until April 2013.

March 5, 2014: The drummer is accused of lying when he fails to mention his 2010 marijuana conviction on his application for a New Zealand pilot’s license. A judge clears him of the charge due to insufficient evidence.

March 11, 2014: The Employee Relations Authority rules in favor of the former employees in the wrongful termination case stemming from the July 2012 incident. Rudd is ordered to pay $72,000 New Zealand dollars, the equivalent of more than $55,600 in U.S. dollars.

Aug. 29, 2014: Rudd releases his first-ever solo album, ‘Head Job,’ which features the single, ‘Repo Man.’

Sept. 24, 2014: AC/DC announce the release of ‘Rock or Bust,’ their first album since 2008’s ‘Black Ice.’ They also officially reveal that founding guitarist Malcolm Young has been forced into retirement due to dementia.

Oct. 4, 2014: AC/DC film videos for two songs from ‘Rock or Bust’ without Rudd. Singer Brian Johnson explains that a “family emergency” kept the drummer from attending the shoot.

Oct. 16, 2014: AC/DC raise eyebrows by posting a new group photo without Rudd on their Facebook page. The band offers no official explanation for the omission.

Nov. 5, 2014: Rudd is charged with attempting to procure a murder, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill after police searched his home in Mauta, New Zealand.

Nov. 6, 2014: AC/DC issue a statement that offered no comment on the arrest, but declares that “Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album ‘Rock or Bust’ and upcoming tour next year.”

Nov. 6, 2014: The procuring-murder charge — the most major charge — against Rudd is dropped due to what his lawyer termed “insufficient evidence.” The other charges remain.

Nov. 14, 2014: Angus Young again refuses to commit to Rudd’s future in the band. “He’s got to sort himself out, I think,” he said. “But we were resolved to go forward. So at this point it’s kind of a question mark. But if we’re touring, there will be a drummer in place, put it that way.”

Nov. 25, 2014: Rudd’s first court appearance doesn’t go well. He arrives late, causing a bench warrant to be issued. After offering no plea and leaving the court, he jumped on his security guard’s back, flipped off the paparazzi gathered outside and nearly got into a car accident.

Dec. 2, 2014: ‘Rock or Bust’ is released worldwide.

Dec. 2, 2014: Through his lawyer, Rudd, who is not present at the court, enters a plea of not guilty to all three charges. The judge schedules a case review for Feb. 10, 2015, stating that he expects a judge-alone trial to be held later that year.

Dec. 4, 2014: Rudd is handcuffed after getting into two fights — first with a former employee and then his current bodyguard, who was trying to hold him back — outside a coffee shop. He was reprimanded in court for breaching his bail, because it’s believed that the former employee is a witness. Rudd was ordered to stay away from illegal drugs or else his bail could be revoked.

Feb. 5, 2015: A scheduled Feb. 10 appearance in court is pushed back to April, after Paul Mabey withdraws as Rudd’s counsel. The attorney would only say, “It’s just a professional decision that we have made.”

April 20, 2015: In a stunning development, Rudd pleads guilty to threatening to kill and to drug charges, but the case is far from over. His new lawyer Craig Tuck tells a judge at New Zealand’s Tauranga District Court that he will apply for a discharge without conviction.

June 10, 2015: Rudd’s sentencing, originally scheduled for June 26, gets pushed back until July 9.

July 9, 2015: Rudd is sentenced to eight months of home detention. He is warned that any violation of his sentence will result in prison time.

July 18, 2015: Rudd is arrested again, for violating the terms of his sentence by possessing or consuming alcohol. He is facing up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine, and must now submit to on-demand drug testing.

You Think You Know AC/DC?

Subscribe to Ultimate Classic Rock on

Angus Young’s and Other Rockers’ Yearbook Photos

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of Ultimate Classic Rock

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!