AC/DC to Headline Coachella With or Without Drummer Phil Rudd

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Jon Wiederhorn
·Writer
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Once again, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will rock music fans this year with an eclectic lineup ranging from classic rock old-timers to cutting-edge hipsters. Even the headliners are wildly diverse: hard-rock veterans AC/DC, indie-rock darling Jack White, and soulful, sensitive rapper Drake. The event will take place over two weekends, April 10 to 12 and April 17 to 19 in Indio, California.

At this point, it’s unclear whether AC/DC will be playing with longtime drummer Phil Rudd, who recently has exhibited some erratic behavior. Last November, police in New Zealand arrested Rudd for plotting to have two men killed, making threats to kill, and possessing methamphetamine and marijuana. The murder plot was later dropped, but Rudd still faces charges for homicidal threats and drug possession. He was in court on the charges November 27.

Eight days later, Rudd was again arrested following an altercation in Tauranga, New Zealand, with his former security guard. According to SunLive, witnesses at a coffee shop watched a “huge guy” tell Rudd, “I don’t work for you anymore.” The man then pushed Rudd in the chest and onto the ground and the drummer allegedly “went nuts.”

A witness told the New Zealand Herald, “He was out and bloody dancing around and carrying on and led back to the cop car and was driven away.”

Rudd showed up late for recording sessions for AC/DC’s new album, Rock or Bust, and was almost replaced. In addition, he failed to take part in a video and band photo shoot, leaving his position in the group in jeopardy. Guitarist and band founder Angus Young wouldn’t say if Rudd would be playing Coachella or the rest of the tour; however, Young told The Pulse of Radio that AC/DC will have a professional and reliable drummer at all of their shows.

“The guy’s got to be in condition to do this job, you know,” Young said. “We don’t want to be in that position of canceling thing. Cause if you put together a lot of stuff you don’t want somebody saying, ‘Oh yeah, maybe I’ll be here, maybe I won’t.’ I’ll say this: there’ll be a good drummer there.”

The night AC/DC headlines Coachella will also include Tame Impala, Interpol, Steely Dan, Alesso, Alabama Shakes, Ride, Raekwon and Ghostface Killa, and Squarepusher.

Jack White will play the same evening as the Weeknd, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, alt-J, Belle and Sebastian, Ratatat, Hozier, Bad Religion, and the War on Drugs.

Drake’s big day will also feature Florence + The Machine, Kaskade, Ryan Adams, David Guetta, St. Vincent, Brand New and Circa Survive. The full Coachella lineup is available at www.coachella.com.