Tauranga-based AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has appeared in court on charges of attempting to procure a murder and possessing drugs.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd could face years in jail after allegedly attempting hire a hitman to kill two people.
The 60-year-old heavy metal musician said nothing during a brief, shoeless appearance in Tauranga District Court in New Zealand on Thursday.
He is charged with attempting to procure murder, threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis, following a police raid on his Tauranga home on Thursday morning.
Tauranga's SunLive online news site says the drummer and local businessman was arrested after the raid on his home in suburban Bureta following information from a member of the public.
According to court documents, Rudd is accused of attempting to hire one person to kill two others between September 25 and September 26.
Under New Zealand law, the crime attracts a maximum 10-year jail term.
He is also accused of threatening to kill a complainant on September 26.
Details of the complaints and the names of the alleged intended targets and hitman were suppressed by Judge Louis Bidois.
At the request of defence lawyer Tony Rickard-Simms, Rudd was remanded on bail until November 27 when he will reappear in court.
His bail conditions include that he lives at his home in the coastal North Island town and not contact any of the complainants.
Melbourne-born Rudd has lived in Tauranga since 1983 when he left the Australian rock band which has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide
He rejoined the band in 1994, having in the intervening years pursued other interests including racing cars, flying helicopters, farming and building his own recording studio, according to a 2005 interview he gave Metal Hammer magazine.
He also opened a Tauranga restaurant, Phil's Place.
He released his debut solo album Head Job in August and features on AC/DC's 17th album Rock or Bust due out later this month.
His arrest is another blow for the enormously popular band which lost founding member and guitarist Malcolm Young who retired in September after his family announced he has dementia.
A month earlier, Rudd was adamant the band would continue.
"We were never going to retire. It'll never happen. Angus (guitarist Angus Young) will never retire and as long as Angus never retires I won't f***ing retire either," he said at the time.
Malcolm Young was replaced by his nephew Stevie Young and the band had been planning a 40th anniversary tour next year.
But fans fear for the band's future following Rudd's arrest.
"Drug charges will (be) the end of touring for the Rudders." one wrote on the AC/DCfans.net website.
Another said: "Can't imagine a tour without Phil and Mal."