AC/DC’s Phil Rudd Cuffed and Returned to NZ Court After Scuffle With His Bodyguard

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd appears in court after being charged with threatening to kill and possession of meth and marijuana at Tauranga District Court on November 26, 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand.  Phil Rudd was ACDC's drummer from 1975 to 1983.

Joel Ford/Getty Images

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has returned to a New Zealand court after being involved in a bizarre bust-up. 

The 60-year-old reportedly appeared before Tauranga District Court on Thursday after he was arrested for his part in a scuffle with an unidentified man and his own minder, the Australian Associated Press reports.  

A witness said of Rudd, “I saw him following a taller, bigger guy and trying to punch the guy.” The other man reportedly responded by saying, “look, I don’t want to break your face” before taking matters into his own hands. The man pushed Rudd, who “literally fell away like a fly,” said the witness, Leo Rojas, a cafe owner in Tauranga.

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A third man, believed to be the drummer’s bodyguard, is said to have intervened. “That’s when Phil started punching and kicking his own bodyguard, which I found funny,” Rojas said. 

Police were called and Rudd was cuffed. A judge granted him bail on condition he doesn’t consume illicit drugs. Rudd’s lawyer admitted his client had a "chance meeting" with someone he was barred from contacting under his previous bail conditions, according to the New Zealand Herald. The sticksman is said to have “mumbled unintelligible responses” when the waiting media asked questions outside the court.

Rudd has been in the headlines since he was charged in November with trying to procure a murder. That charge was soon dropped, but he still faces charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. He has been on bail since his arrest early last month in New Zealand. On Tuesday, Rudd entered a not-guilty plea via his lawyer. He's due back in court on Feb. 10 for a case review hearing.

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The Australian-born, New Zealand-based drummer split from AC/DC in 1983 but reunited with the rockers in 1994, and was inducted with his bandmates into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. With Rudd caught up in his own legal circus in NZ, his group has got on with business; the new album, Rock or Bust, arrived this week in North America (earlier in Australia) and is shaping as an international hit. The band members have kept their distance from Rudd in recent months, and its unclear what role, if any, he’d have with the anticipated 2015 tour.