AC/DC guitarist Angus Young and bassist Cliff Williams have spoken out about their bandate Phil Rudd's recent arrest, saying that the drummer is "not the Phil we've known from the past."
On November 6, Rudd was charged with attempting to "procure murder" by New Zealand police but the charge was dropped a day later by the Crown Solicitor Greg Hollister-Jones after a meeting with Rudd's attorney, Paul Mabey, and police. Rudd must return to court on November 27, where he still faces one charge of threatening to kill as well as possession of meth and marijuana, which his lawyer described as "minor."
Speaking to USA Today, Williams said that getting Rudd to the studio for the recording sessions of the new AC/DC album, "Rock Or Bust", "was tough." 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."
AC/DC issued a statement last week on Rudd's arrest, saying that Phil's absence will not affect the release of "Rock Or Bust" and the band's upcoming tour.
"Phil created his own situation," Young told USA Today. "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."
Young declined to elaborate on reports that drugs could be involved, telling USA Today, "When you get into that land, it's very hard." He added: "I don't know the exact situation...I can only say, from our perspective, that the guy needs to sort himself out."
Rudd was missing from the band's new publicity photo and was also a no-show at the group's video shoot for "Play Ball" and "Rock Or Bust". Rudd was replaced for the filming by drummer Bob Richards (who had previously played with SHOGUN and IRON MAIDEN guitarist Adrian Smith), with singer Brian Johnson reportedly telling fans at the shoot that Rudd was unable to participate due to an undisclosed "family emergency."
Rudd's arrest was the second major blow to AC/DC in 2014. Founding guitarist Malcolm Young was forced to leave the band earlier this year because he is afflicted with dementia.