AC/DC's Phil Rudd Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of Threatening to Kill, Holding Drugs

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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.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has entered a not-guilty plea to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs.

The 60-year-old sticksman has been on bail since his arrest early last month in New Zealand. He was excused from appearing in Tauranga District Court on Tuesday, and his plea was entered by his lawyer.

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A dishevelled-looking Rudd was initially charged in November with trying to procure a murder. The charge was soon dropped, but Rudd still faces charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. The first of those charges carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Judge Tom Ingram said the matter would likely be heard at a judge-alone trial next year. Details on the “threatening to kill” complainant and three other witnesses remain suppressed on the judge’s orders.

The veteran rocker made headlines in late November when he arrived late for a court appearance, clowned around by jumping on the back of one of his security guards outside the courthouse, and sped off in a black sports car.

AC/DC Release 'Rock or Bust' Video, Minus Drummer Phil Rudd

Rudd was turfed from the group in 1983 but returned in 1994. He was conspicuously absent from recent band publicity photos and was missing from their Oct. 3 video shoot for "Play Ball.” Instead, Bob Richards sat behind the kit.

AC/DC's Rock or Bust arrived last week in the Aussie rockers’ homeland, and the record drops today (Dec. 2) in North America. A 2015 tour will follow, with or without the services of Rudd.