AC/DC say Phil Rudd's arrest in an alleged hitman plot will not impact on their upcoming album or 2015 tour.
AC/DC: Rudd arrest won't impact album & tour
Band say they were blindsided by drummer's court drama, but vow to go on
Rudd was arrested this morning and appeared in a New Zealand court charged with attempting to procure the murder of two men. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
In a short statement, AC/DC say: "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment. Phil’s absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock Or Bust and upcoming tour next year."
Rudd, 60, was arrested early this morning when his home in Tauranga was raided by police, acting on information received from a member of the public. The alleged offences are said to have taken place between September 25 and 26 this year.
He later entered no plea at Tauranga District Court to the main charge, plus additional charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill. He was released on bail and will return to court in three weeks.
Meanwhile, the man allegedly suspected of being the intended hitman has been reported as saying Rudd was "a good guy who had burnt a lot of bridges." The Melbourne Herald Sun quotes the unnamed man as saying he was friends with Rudd, although he refused to answer any questions on the murder plot allegations.
Rudd failed to appear for an AC/DC video shoot in London last month. His absence was explained by frontman Brian Johnson as being down to "family reasons." Days later, an official band photograph was released showing the group without Rudd.
Rock Or Bust will be the band's first album without mainman Malcolm Young, who’s been forced to retire as a result of dementia. His nephew Stevie Young has been named as his replacement.