Celebrity Interview: Speaking with Phil Rudd of AC/DC on New Album and Euro Tour

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Phil Rudd, the bad boy drummer for the wildly successful Australian band AC/DC who has seen his share of troubles recently, is launching a new album, Head Job, and embarking on a Euro Tour with his new band-mates.

I caught up with the septuagenarian rocker, during a recent phone interview and we spent a few minutes talking on his influences, the sound, his AC/DC days, and my signature question: memorable moments of his career.

Speaking of that his career nearly thirty years as a founding member of the hard rock band who is still so well known that nearly anyone, from teenagers to his contemporaries can name or sing at least one of the many multi-platinum hits from AC/DC.

Rudd, who hadn't named the tour when we spoke, via telephone, talked about the life and from all accounts and even his own, he has had an exceptional run.

Rolling Stone Magazine, In November 2010, created the Top 100 Bands of All time, AC/DC after all these years made the list at Number 72. Watching a few AC/DC videos to prepare for the interview I ended watching some of the greatest concerts the band ever played and not by their account but by the reaction of the fans, massive stadiums, worlds of fans singing along, bobbing up and down like waves on the ocean. It was impressive.

Challenges to Creating Head Job

Head Job, Phil Rudd's newest album, and the lead single off the new album of the same name, has the classic drum beat, that Rudd pounded out during his AC/DC days.

To the untrained ear, Phil Rudd's drumming may seem rudimentary, but his style and groove have earned him the adoration of generations of his peers.  Rudd appeared on all but three of AC/DC's 18 studio albums, which have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.

The 11 tracks on Head Job all ring of the rock and roll sound that is expected from one of the premiere drummer in the business and have a classic percussion sound.

"No Right" is the only track that reflects a change in Rudd's live hard, play hard persona even the possibility of a social change and disappointment in the way of the world. "Looking out across the street can I do something when I am just one man. Is this the world, no turning back and there's no respect," from No Right, the seventh track on Phil Rudd's latest album, Head Job.

When I asked, what was his biggest challenge in creating the album he grappled slightly with the question and quite possibly it was the early morning or bad connection, then he said, "it wasn't really a challenge. It was like having a baby. There wasn't any real challenge."

Creatively Rudd, didn't suffer from depletion of ideas or inspiration, he seemed to be waiting for this day, and then he added an afterthought, "I guess getting it [marketing the album] out there and looking forward. I'm on my way."  

Marketing Head Job hit a couple of snags along the way due to Phil's legal troubles which also made it impossible for him to join AC/DC on the 2015 world tour.

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The Back on The Beat Tour

With an ongoing European tour which takes the Rudd and his band mates across 18 European Countries, and has increased since our phone interview Rudd biggest concern of the tour at that time, which is "spread out from Oslo to Italy, four shows in a row," is the physical demands of four or more shows consecutively.

The Back on the Beat Tour is from all accounts and ticket sales is doing well across Europe with sell out dates popping up on the website. Rudd and Company played its first show March 31 and will be touring until the July 1.

Musical Influences

Having the opportunity to interview a musical icon isn't my usual beat so I decided to ask a few questions that may seem primary one of which was his musical influences.

To my surprise, he spoke easily about the beginning of his career and the influences, that nearly "everyone my age was influenced by the same sound. I listened to the old 60's classics from the Stones the Beatles and it was a very innovative time in music. It was a much smaller world then."

I also asked what his most memorable moment was across his career, granted I expected his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, countless awards, multi-platinum moments across an illustrious career, he replied, "probably being on stage with the Rolling Stones."

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The Toys and His Love of Automobiles

Having the word in advance that Phil was willing to talk about his recent legal troubles and off topic questions were acceptable also, I decided to ask about his elaborate luxury automobile collection which is known around the world.

When the blockbusting album Highway to Hell went multi-platinum worldwide, Rudd said he ''went straight down the road to buy my first Ferrari'' sparking a lifelong love of luxury cars. Rudd showcased eleven of his luxury cars in Christchurch, New Zealand as part of an earthquake appeal fundraiser, his current collection includes a rare 1991 Ferrari F40, a brand-new Ferrari 599, two Lamborghinis, a 2010 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2011 Bentley Mulsanne and Bentley super sport, Audi R8 V10, a 2011 Aston Martin DBS and 2010 Mercedes SLS AMG. The cars have a combined worth of approximately $3m. Rudd's airport hangar is also home to his MD 520N helicopter.

With the lavish rock star lifestyle firmly in place, Phil Rudd recorded and released his first debut album Head Job with Kiwi musicians Allan Badger and Geoffrey Martin in 2014. The album was released via Universal Music Group in Australia & New Zealand but further promotional plans were ruined by well publicized legal problems in New Zealand.

Legal Troubles Sideline His AC/DC Reunion

Phil Rudd, would be the first to talk about his recent legal troubles which sidelined his appearing in the AC/DC world reunion tour.

After verbally threatening to kill his former producer, and compounding the action by what was interpreted by the court as down payment for the dirty deed, the Aussie musician was in deep troubled and faced attempted murder charges.

Rudd had initially thought fighting the charges to clear his name was the right course of action. And one day without notice he walked into the courtroom, pled guilty and served an eight-month home detention which stopped the 2014 release of Head Job.

He has said essentially he learned his lesson and has embraced a more positive lifestyle and says his "hell raising days are over...  I see a psychiatrist once a week and I'm closer than ever to my children. I still have all my flash cars but now I want to grow chillies". 

Phil Rudd has turned a corner, completely dedicating his life to the most important things in his life; family, friends and music.