Estranged AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been sentenced to eight months of home detention after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs. The 61-year-old faced up to seven years in prison on the threatening to kill charge.
Rudd, who has been struggling with a longstanding meth addiction, was sentenced on Thursday (July 9) at Tauranga District Court on New Zealand's North Island.
Phil's son submitted an affidavit of support to the court in which he said that his dad "has a heart of gold and wouldn't hurt a fly. It's just when the drugs take over, he behaves how he taught me not to," the son wrote.
The rocker reportedly threatened a former employee after his first solo effort, "Head Job", flopped. It was a month later that he called an associate and asked him to "take out" Rudd's personal assistant, whom Rudd then called himself and said, "I'm going to come over and kill you."
Rudd offered the associate $200,000, a motorbike and the choice of one of his cars or a house as payment for the hit, which the associate turned down.
After his initial call to his assistant, Rudd made several more but the assistant hung up each time. Prosecutors said that the assistant "was genuinely fearful of his safety."
When police later raided Rudd's waterside home in the New Zealand town of Tauranga, they spoke with him in his lounge. At one point he picked up a container from the coffee table and put it on the floor. Later testing of the container found cannabis crumbs.
When police searched his jeans, they found a similar bag of methamphetamine. There were more drugs in the bedroom and stashed in the hallway cupboard.
"I was pretty stressed at the time," Rudd told Australia's "A Current Affair".
"I got back here and the people who I had working for me for this [album] launch — it was a total fucking disaster. So I was really pissed off."
In an interview with USA Today last fall, AC/DC guitarist Angus Young stated about Rudd: "Phil created his own situation. 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."
Speaking about his relationship with his bandmates, Rudd told "A Current Affair": "I wrote them a letter, I tried to get in contact with Angus... I've had no contact with anybody.
"I'm very disappointed ... But, you know, that's life."
Drummer Chris Slade rejoined AC/DC in February for its performance at the Grammy Awards and is playing on its world tour as a replacement for Rudd.
"I'm sure they're having a great old time," Rudd told "A Current Affair". "I'm sure they're really enjoying playing. I'm sure it really sounds great.
"There'll be another tour and another and I'll be on it," he said. "It'll go until we all die. We'll probably all have to be dead before it stops."
He added: "I've seen the errors of my ways... It's onward and upward from here."