In a new interview with New Zealand's Stuff, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd said that he was unable to join his bandmates ar the Power Trip festival in California, but there are talks that AC/DC will finally embark on its long-awaited world tour in 2024, with potential gigs in Australia and New Zealand.
"I look forward to playing with them again in the future," he told Stuff. "Rock on."
In other news, Rudd is selling off his drum kit, with proceeds going to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. Phil's close friend of 15 years has terminal stage 4 breast cancer. Six months ago, she was given six months to live. Doctors say she "will be lucky to make it until Christmas," Rudd told Stuff.
Sitting behind the drum kit for AC/DC's appearance at Power Trip in early October was Matt Laug. The 55-year-old Laug is an American drummer who has played with many bands/artists such as Alanis Morissette, Alice Cooper, SLASH'S SNAKEPIT and Vasco Rossi. Matt moved to Los Angeles after graduating from South Florence High School in 1986 and after attending college in L.A., Matt became a sought-after studio drummer. In 2001, Laug supported AC/DC as part of SLASH'S SNAKEPIT on the North American and European legs of the "Stiff Upper Lip" tour.
When AC/DC announced in early September that Laug would play drums for the band at Power Trip, it offered no explanation for the absence of Rudd, who rejoined AC/DC for the recording of the group's comeback album, "Power Up", which came out in November 2020.
Rudd was ousted from AC/DC when he was sentenced to eight months of home detention by a New Zealand court in 2015 after pleading guilty to charges of threatening to kill and drug possession. He was replaced on the band's "Rock Or Bust" tour by Chris Slade, who had previously served as AC/DC's drummer between 1989 and 1994, playing on the album "The Razor's Edge".
Rudd, who appeared on all but three of AC/DC's 18 previous studio albums, toured in support of his 2014 solo debut, "Head Job". It was the release of that album that led indirectly to Rudd's arrest, with the drummer allegedly so angry at a personal assistant over the way the record was promoted that he threatened to have the man and his daughter killed.
During an appearance on a November 2020 episode of Dean Delray's "Let There Be Talk" podcast, Rudd confirmed that the seed for his return to AC/DC was planted at the funeral of AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young in 2017. Rudd, singer Brian Johnson and bassist Cliff Williams all attended the ceremony. At the time, the three musicians were considered former members of AC/DC, with Johnson and Williams both having left in 2016 for health reasons, while Rudd was sidelined in 2015 with various legal issues.
"Angus and I had a good chat at Mal's funeral and caught up," Rudd recalled. "[After I played on the 'Rock Or Bust' record] there was crazy shit going on, but since then, I'd got my shit together and put a little band together, I went to Europe and was doing a bit of playing and stuff and did [a solo] album. The guys knew I was still playing, so when I caught up with Angus at the funeral, we were sort of chatting away and somehow, he just sort of [asked me] if I was up for [doing a new AC/DC] album. And he started writing the next day. He went in the studio and started writing straight away."
Angus told Rolling Stone that it was indeed Malcolm's funeral that helped heal old wounds.
"[Phil] was there and in good shape," the guitarist said. "He was keeping himself well together. He was getting therapy and sorting himself out. It was really good."
Johnson added that he and the rest of AC/DC welcomed Rudd with open arms. "I speak for all the boys with Phil," he said. "We defend Phil to the hilt. What happened up there, that's not the Phil we know. That was just something else. He's really looking brilliant now and doing everything great."