AC/DC World Tour Still On After Drummer's Arrest

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Phil Rudd was charged with hiring a hitman to kill two people

AC/DC's 2015 Rock or Bust world tour will go ahead in 2015 with or without drummer Phil Rudd, who was arrested in New Zealand on Thursday and charged with hiring a hitman to kill two people.

The band reacted to Rudd's arrest in a statement on its website Friday (local time), saying, "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment."

Read more AC/DC Drummer Charged in Murder Plot

"Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year," the statement added.

Rock or Bust is due to drop Dec. 2 in the U.S.

Rudd, who has been nicknamed the "Hugh Hefner of Tauranga" by local press, was granted bail at a court appearance in Tauranga, New Zealand, after being arrested Thursday morning on charges of attempting to procure the murders of two people.

The 60-year-old was also charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill. The maximum penalty for procuring a murder is 10 years in jail, while threatening to kill carries a maximum of seven years.

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He entered no plea to the charges and will next appear in court on Nov. 27.

Former manager Michael Browning, who recently released Dog Eat Dog, a memoir of his time with the band, told Fairfax Radio in Brisbane that Rudd was a "fabulous drummer" and "universally recognized as a crucial part of AC/DC."

He said the departure of founding member Malcolm Young, who is suffering from dementia, plus Rudd's possible future absence would challenge the band, although a replacement drummer could easily be found for their upcoming tour, according to New Zealand's Stuff.

"I guess where it really becomes a problem is future recordings. When you don't have Malcolm and Phil Rudd, you lose a lot of the essence on the creative level in the recording studio and I really can't envisage that continuing," he told Fairfax Radio 4BC.

"Who knows? They're good at overcoming adversity, AC/DC."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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