AC/DC drummer on murder bid charge
The drummer for rock band AC/DC has been charged in New Zealand with attempting to procure murder.
Phil Rudd made a brief appearance at Tauranga District Court before being released on bail.
The 60-year-old Australian has also been charged with threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.
One of his bail conditions is that he must not have any contact with anyone involved in the alleged plot.
Neither Rudd's lawyer nor a publicist for the band could be immediately reached for comment.
Court staff said Rudd was due to make a second appearance on November 27, although that date could change.
Rudd and other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Bay of Plenty Times newspaper reported that Rudd was accused of trying to hire a hit-man to carry out two killings. Police raided his home, according to the paper, and held him in custody until his court appearance.
A judge suppressed the names of the intended victims and the would-be hit-man in the alleged plot, the newspaper said.
Rudd's lawyer Paul Mabey said he was still getting up to speed on the case and had no comment.
AC/DC was due to release the Rock Or Bust album next month and had planned a world tour next year. It was unclear whether the latest events would affect those plans.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls them one of the best-loved and hardest-rocking bands in the world.
"Featuring guitarist Angus Young as their visual symbol and musical firebrand, they grew from humble origins in Australia to become an arena-filling phenomenon with worldwide popularity. They did so without gimmickry, except for Angus's schoolboy uniform, which became mandatory stage attire," said the Hall of Fame's biography.
According to the biography, Rudd first joined AC/DC in 1974, the year after it was started. Other reports indicate he left the band in 1983 but rejoined again in 1994.
The Bay of Plenty Times said Rudd first moved to New Zealand in 1983, during the period when he had left the band, and in 2011 bought a Tauranga restaurant he named Phil's Place.
AC/DC's albums include Highway To Hell, Back In Black, and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
Even the US military has used the band's music for martial purposes. In 2004, troops blasted AC/DC's Hell's Bells and other rock music full volume in Fallujah, Iraq, hoping to grate on the nerves of Sunni Muslim gunmen.
In recent years, AC/DC became known as one of the few acts that refused to allow its music to be released digitally on iTunes. It finally relented in late 2012. This year, the band announced that founding member Malcolm Young, brother of Angus, was leaving due to unspecified health reasons.