Phil Rudd Hoped to Turn His New Zealand Studio Into a Destination for Other Artists
Much has been made of the nefarious plans that recently led to Phil Rudd making a guilty plea in court, but the AC/DC drummer also had a number of legitimate business pursuits in the New Zealand town he's called home.
Rudd moved to the seaside community of Tauranga in 1983, after leaving AC/DC for the first time — and according to the Bay of Plenty Times, he initially led a fairly quiet life, buying up a chunk of property that he used to build a recording studio and helicopter company.
"I raced cars, flew helicopters, became a farmer and planted some crops," he's quoted as saying in the report. "I lived in New Zealand, which was great; nice and quiet, with nobody bothering me."
According to the Times, Rudd's lifestyle started showing noticeable signs of change after he separated from his wife in 2006. The following year, the former couple got into an argument on one of his boats, during which he "pushed his chest into her and held a clenched fist to her face, before grabbing her arms and pretending to push her overboard." That incident, as well as a 2011 arrest for drug possession, ended without a conviction thanks to Rudd's lawyers successfully arguing that it would interfere with his ability to tour with the band.
Rudd also made headlines for a growing list of business interests in the town, including a restaurant in the marina that he purchased, renovated, and renamed Phil's Place.
"Tauranga is my home now. I still go on tour and do what I do but the truth is I hate all forms of travel. I love Tauranga because it's got everything you need within reach," he said. "I can go out on my launch, moor it, have a shower, drive home and my hair is still wet. I can drive back out to the hangar to take my helicopter, to run the Lambo on the track. The sun shines. The people here accept you. People are not overawed by success. I like that, it's cool here."
Unfortunately, Rudd's ownership of Phil's Place was later marred by a misunderstanding that ended with him firing the entire staff in a violent outburst — and later losing a wrongful termination lawsuit brought against him by his former employees.
That setback put a dent in Rudd's efforts to assemble "Plan B," which was reportedly "a proposal to use Rudd's connections to attract famous musicians and bands for recording sessions at his studio, then show them a good time in New Zealand with his collection of toys" — an idea that, despite its seeming potential, is now presumably permanently shelved.
Then again, it's probably unwise to assume anything about Rudd at this point. As he said in a TV interview quoted in the Times report, "I'll settle down when I die ... until then I'll have a good time, all the way."
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