The man who was reportedly approached about killing two people by AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has described the musician as a "good fella," but denied knowing anything about the murder-plot allegations.
Rudd was arrested by New Zealand police and charged with attempting to procure a murder. Rudd also faces charges of possessing the drugs methamphetamine and cannabis, and of threatening to kill. Rudd's home in New Zealand was raided by police on Thursday morning (November 6) and the 60-year-old drummer was taken to court, where he entered no plea to the charges later that afternoon. He was released on bail and will reappear in court on November 27.
Rudd is alleged to have tried to hire a hitman to kill two men. Their names and that of the intended hitman were not released to the media. If convicted, Rudd faces a maximum of 10 years in jail.
The alleged events reportedly took place between September 25 and September 26.
The alleged intended hitman befriended Rudd after meeting him when he ran a parlor in Tauranga. The man, who said police called him yesterday morning to inform him of Rudd's arrest, told the Bay Of Plenty Times the drummer would often let him drive his cars and would take him on trips in his helicopter or they would go fishing together.
However, as of late, Rudd had become irritable and was doing things that were negatively affecting his long-term relationships.
"He's burning the ones who care about him," the man said.
"The joys of being a rock star, always in the spotlight," he added. "You've got to feel sorry for him — just the expectations everyone has of him. He's a good fella. He's got a big heart."
When asked about murder-plot allegations, the man replied: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Rudd was missing from AC/DC's new publicity photo and was also a no-show at the group's video shoot on October 3 and October 4 for its two new singles, "Play Ball" and "Rock Or Bust".
Rudd was replaced for the filming by drummer Bob Richards. Singer Brian Johnson reportedly told fans at the shoot that Rudd was unable to participate due to an undisclosed "family emergency."
AC/DC's new album, "Rock Or Bust", will be released on December 2. The 11-song set is AC/DC's first without guitarist Malcolm Young, who is suffering from dementia. He has been replaced by nephew Stevie Young.