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Phil Rudd

Phil Rudd

Phillip Hugh Norman Rudd (born Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis; 19 May 1954) is an Australian drummer. He is best known for his membership of rock band AC/DC from 1975 until 1983, and again from 1994 to present. After the 1977 departure of bass guitarist Mark Evans, he became the only Australian-born member of the band. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other members of AC/DC.


Rudd played in several bands in Melbourne before joining Buster Brown with future Rose Tattoo vocalist Angry Anderson. They went on to release one album, Something To Say, in 1974 but Rudd left for a brief spell in the Coloured Balls with Lobby Lloyde. During 1974 he was told about AC/DC's rhythm section auditions by his former Coloured Balls bandmate Trevor Young. He asked Buster Brown bassist Geordie Leach to accompany him, but Leach refused. Rudd tried out and was hired immediately. He fitted in with the band very quickly and contributed his solid drumming style to great effect on the string of albums recorded from 1975 to 1983. The band relocated to the UK in 1976 and followed a heavy schedule of international touring and recording.

Fired from AC/DC

In 1980 vocalist Bon Scott died. The band regrouped with vocalist Brian Johnson and recorded their most successful album, Back in Black. Rudd took Scott's death badly, but continued with AC/DC until he left the band during the recording of the Flick of the Switch album in 1983. He had completed his contribution to this album, and although session drummer B.J. Wilson was drafted in to help complete the recording, Wilson's drum parts were eventually not used. Future Dio drummer Simon Wright replaced Rudd, and featured in the videos that accompanied the singles released from the album.

Rudd's sacking from the band was partly a result of his own problems with drugs and a conflict with the band's rhythm guitarist and founder Malcolm Young, which eventually became physical. After being sacked from AC/DC, Rudd retired to Tauranga, New Zealand where he purchased a helicopter company.

After his move, AC/DC fans began to regularly drive through streets Rudd had formerly lived on and approach people in an attempt to locate him.

On his period away from AC/DC, Rudd has said, "I raced cars, flew helicopters, became a farmer and planted some crops. I lived in New Zealand which was great; nice and quiet with nobody bothering me." Rudd also continued to play drums, "when I wanted to rather than when I had to", and built his own studio.

Rejoining AC/DC

When AC/DC went touring in New Zealand in 1994 during the Razors Edge World Tour, they called Rudd to see if he would like to "jam" with them. Rudd decided to accept their offer and was eventually rehired.

The band welcomed him back following Chris Slade's term as drummer. There was no ill feeling as a result of Slade's departure. The band praised Slade for his performance and technical ability, but maintained that a certain sound had been missing from AC/DC's music since the altercation in 1983. Since then he has been a part of 3 AC/DC albums, Ballbreaker, Stiff Upper Lip, and Black Ice which was the band's biggest hit on the charts since For Those About To Rock We Salute You in 1981. Phil and the rest of the band are on their Black Ice World Tour which ended in June 2010 in Bilbao, Spain.

Personal life

Phil has 6 children : Franco-Australian Tommy & Steven, Jack, Milla, Tuesday, Lucia.


Rudd uses Sonor drums, Paiste cymbals, Evans drumheads and Easton Ahead drumsticks.

Black Ice tour kit (2008 - 2010)


Sonor Designer Series, Maple Light Shells, Solid Black Finish:

22x18" Bass Drum

13x13" Tom Tom

16x18" Floor Tom

18x18" Floor Tom

Sonor Signature Series Horst Link 14x5" Snare (Brass Shell, Die Cast Hoops)

Sonor Phil Rudd Signature 14x5" Snare (Chrome over Brass Shell, Die Cast Hoops)


Paiste 2002:

14" Medium Hi-Hat

20" Crash

19" Crash

20" Crash

20" Crash

19" Crash

19" Crash

19" Crash

On their earlier albums, Notably Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Rudd occasionally used a ride cymbal, but quit using one later in his career.


Evans Drumheads:

Bass Drum: EQ2


Clear G2 on the batter side, EC Resonant on the resonant side


EC Reverse Dot on the batter side, Hazy 300 on the resonant side, PureSound "Blasters" Snare Wire


Sonor 600 Series:

DT 670 Drum Throne

SS 677 Snare Stand

CBS 672 Cymbal Boom Stands (6x)

CBA 672 Cymbal Boom Arm

Sonor GSP 3 Giant Step Bass Drum Pedal

Sonor 5000 Series Double Tom Stand

Sonor 5000 Series Hi-Hat Stand

Past Kits:

His Back in Black Touring kit:

22x14" Bass Drum

12x9", 13x10", and a 14x11" Tom Tom's

16x16 and a 18x18" Floor Tom's

14x5.5 Snare

Past Drum Heads


Coated Emperors on the batter

Coated Ambassadors on the resonant

Clear Controlled Sound over a Hazy Ambassador on the snare "Phil's known for having a clear dot snarehead."

Further reading

Walker, Clinton (1994), Highway to Hell: The Life and Times of AC/DC Legend Bon Scott, Verse Chorus Press, ISBN 0-283-06263-0.

Stenning, Paul; Johnstone, Rob (2005). AC/DC: Two Sides to Every Glory: The Complete Biography. Chrome Dreams. ISBN 1842403087.


Bio at

Engleheart, Murray AC/DC - Maximum Rock N Roll 2003 ISBN 0 7322 8383 3.

a b "Metal Hammer & Classic Rock present AC/DC", Metal Hammer magazine special, 2005

a b What kit does Phil Rudd (AC/DC) play on the "Black Ice" Tour?, SONOR Website, 19 February 2009

Phil Rudd's Artist Profile, Paiste Website

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