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AC/DC drummer arrested for attempting to hire a hit man in New Zealand

Drummer Phil Rudd of Australian rock band AC/DC was charged with attempting to procure murder, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. Rudd was accused of trying to arrange two murders. 

Drummer Phil Rudd of Australian rock band AC/DC whose hits include "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was accused Thursday of trying to arrange two killings as well as possession of drugs.

He appeared briefly at the Tauranga District Court in his adopted home of New Zealand and was charged with attempting to procure murder, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

Rudd, 60, was released on bail. One of the conditions is that he must not have any contact with anyone involved in the alleged plot.

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The Bay of Plenty Times newspaper reported that the Australian-born Rudd was accused of trying to hire a hit man to carry out the two killings. Police raided Rudd's home Thursday morning, according to the paper, and held him in custody until his court appearance.

A judge suppressed the names of the intended victims and the would-be hit man, the newspaper said.

The court declined to release further details.

Rudd's lawyer Paul Mabey said he was still getting up to speed on the case and had no comment. Mabey said he was out of town attending a trial when he heard about the charges.

A publicist for the band could not be immediately reached for comment.

Rudd has also been charged with threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

Court staff said Rudd was due to make a second appearance Nov. 27, although that date could change. He has yet to enter a plea.

AC/DC is due to release the "Rock or Bust" album next month and plans a world tour next year. It was unclear whether Thursday's events would affect those plans.

Rudd and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

"Featuring guitarist Angus Young as their visual symbol and musical firebrand, they grew from humble origins in Australia to become an arena-filling phenomenon with worldwide popularity. They did so without gimmickry, except for Angus's schoolboy uniform, which became mandatory stage attire," said the Hall of Fame's biography.

According to the biography, Rudd first joined AC/DC in 1974, the year after it was started. Other reports indicate he left the band in 1983 but rejoined again in 1994. The Bay of Plenty Times reported that Rudd first moved to New Zealand in 1983, during the period when he had left the band, and in 2011 bought a Tauranga restaurant he named Phil's Place.

The restaurant's website says it represents Rudd's long-held vision to "offer you fresh local food at affordable prices delivered by warm and friendly staff."

AC/DC's albums include "Highway to Hell," ''Back in Black," and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap."

The U.S. military has used the band's music for martial purposes. In 2004, U.S. troops blasted AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and other rock music full volume in Fallujah, Iraq, hoping to grate on the nerves of Sunni Muslim gunmen.

AC/DC had been one of the few acts that refused to allow its music to be released digitally on iTunes. It relented in late 2012. This year, the band announced that founding member Malcolm Young, brother of Angus, was leaving due to unspecified health reasons.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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