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Phil Rudd Changes His Mind About Axl Rose Fronting AC/DC

Jeffrey A. Camarati / Joel Ford, Getty Images
Jeffrey A. Camarati / Joel Ford, Getty Images

AC/DC‘s former drummer Phil Rudd last year said he didn’t think much of Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose singing with his old band – but now he’s changed his mind.

The drummer lost his job with the Australian giants in 2015 after his drug addiction spiraled out of control. He was later sentenced to house arrest in his New Zealand home for threatening to kill and possession of amphetamine. He’s since reportedly cleaned up his act.

Guitarist Angus Young hired Rose in early 2016 after longtime singer Brian Johnston was told he’d almost certainly lose what was left of his hearing if he continued to perform. The controversial choice eventually proved popular with fans – but not before Rudd claimed he might not rejoin the band, if invited, with Rose at the mic. “If Angus wanted me to play, then that’s up to him,” said Rudd. “But I don’t really want to play with Axl Rose. I don’t really rate him.”

Times have changed. Rudd recently told MusicRadar that he “watched some clips the other day of Axl singing with the boys. I was surprised – it wasn’t too bad. I thought he did quite well, and that’s not an easy gig, mate. AC/DC is a tough gig for everyone in the band.”

Rudd noted he’s spoken to a couple members of the band, but “I can’t say what’s on the horizon for AC/DC. I have seen, though, that Guns N’ Roses are playing over here in Wellington soon. They have a big tour all over the world. I wonder whether Angus would be happy to see Guns N’ Roses going out on a big tour, which means that AC/DC can’t go out on tour. We’ll see – you’d need a crystal ball to know what’s going to happen there.”

Rudd’s dismissal came after co-founding guitarist Malcolm Young was forced to bow out due to dementia, and before Johnson’s retirement was followed by bassist Cliff Williams’ decision to retire too.

The drummer admitted, “I shot myself in the foot. You make your own bed, mate. You make your own mistakes and you have to deal with them, and that’s what I have done.”

Rudd said he’s gearing up to tour Europe with his Phil Rudd Band, who last year reissued their debut 2014 album Head Job. AC/DC’s future remains in doubt, though Angus Young said last year that he felt “obligated” to keep the band going.

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