Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd is launching a comeback just weeks after suffering a heart attack.
The Tauranga-based rocker says his band is heading to Europe in October -- and was doing a "Paul McCartney session" and hoping to hook up with some other rock legends, with a bigger tour of UK and Europe planned for next year.
Rudd also reveals today Wednesday in an exclusive interview with the Bay of Plenty Times that he has a new Rotorua partner and wants to help local young people with P addiction.
The upcoming trip comes after he needed an operation in Tauranga Hospital to fix a blocked artery.
''Yeah, I had a f**king heart attack, but I am good now, got a stent inside.''
Rudd, who turned 62 in May, said he was "ready to rock" and "life is good" and he was "fired up" after his brush with death a few weeks ago.
"I was just at home walking around at home, and I started feel, well just funny. You know how you can feel funny? I had a strange pain in my chest. So my housekeeper took me to the hospital, when they hooked me up and did all these tests turned out I had a big heart attack...my artery was all blocked up, and they said I had to stay in and have an operation."
The rocker was unfazed.
"I sneaked out to the shop to get some cigarettes, then I realised I had no car, so I walked home to get the Ferrari, and drove back to the hospital."
Rudd had a stent inserted via his arm.
"Weird because they shave your man parts, but they put it in your arm. All I have is a tiny scar in my wrist. And my hair has grown back too so I am all good, I am healthy and got so much colour in my cheeks."
Rudd is now looking forward and said he was hitting the road as his eight-month home detention following his sentencing in Tauranga District Court in July last year, and a further six months of post-release conditions have expired.
He last year admitted to charges of threatening to kill an employee, and for 91g of cannabis and 0.478g of methamphetamine found in his home during a police raid last year.
But he is putting all that behind him and re-releasing Head Job, his 11-track solo album with Kiwi musicians Allan Badger of Rotorua and Geoffrey Martin of Auckland.
Support of family, friends and fans helped get him through the last couple of years, he said.
"I made mistakes, but I am really good now. Life is good. I'm positive and healthy. I really appreciate the support of the fans around the world, which kept me going through, you know, some of the dark times, and I cannot wait to play the music for them, it is going to rock."
Rudd last Friday signed an international deal with Simon Britton and Alan "Big Al" Bellman, of London-based record company Wave 365 Media. In his various roles as producer and A and R director, Britton has worked with artists including Julian Lennon, David Gray, Jimmy Cliff, Sting, Talib Kweli & Run DMC.
Britton told the Bay of Plenty Times Rudd would visit the UK and Europe in October and visit Sir Paul McCartney's charity, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, to give a masterclass to students.
A tour is planned in the UK and Europe in 2017 in which Britton said Rudd and his band would likely play at all the key European festivals in 2017.
Rudd said he would not rule out a return to AC/DC but said for now he was focusing on his own music with "Badge and Spence.''
"If Angus wanted me to play then that is up to him... but I don't really want to play with Axl Rose... I don't really rate him."
"Geoffrey [Spencer] is a great guitarist, just as good as Malcolm, better than if you ask me."
Rudd played drums on AC/DC's 17th studio album Rock or Bust and recorded it together with the band in Vancouver, Canada, but his Tauranga arrest ended his chances of going on the Rock or Bust world tour. Chris Slade replaced him and the band finished the European leg of the tour in June with Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose roped in when vocalist Brian Johnson had to give up the tour in April due to hearing loss.
Rudd also revealed he was in a new relationship.
"I am real good, doing really well and positive, happy, got a new girlfriend, family is good".
Rudd's new love is Rotorua-based fashion, portrait and wedding photographer Michelle Cutelli.
"Michelle is great with the girls. She lives in Rotorua but comes over at the weekends. We have been friends for around 30 years but just got it together. And it's good."
Cutelli told the Bay of Plenty Times they were very happy,
"We used to date in the early 80s when Phil first came to New Zealand, and now we have got together again."
Rudd took his daughters to New Zealand fashion week along with Michelle.
Daughter Tuesday, who is a model, got to walk on the catwalk for Rotorua fashion designer Kharl WiRepa whose head photographer was Cutelli. Cutelli said,
"I asked Tuesday if she would like to model in NZFW...she is exquisitely beautiful in a 1940s way. I I posted the pics to Kharl. I did not give him any names. 'To glam to give a damn'. Kharl said yes...Kharl only found out the name days before the show."
Rudd was proud of his daughter on the catwalk.
"She did brilliantly, she just got up there and did it. Michelle introduced her to some fashion designers... I was at the show, fashion week, that's hectic, so many women, nearly had another f**king heart attack."
Rudd is also putting up his hand to help with the Bay's methamphetamine epidemic, offering to join Project Meth, a new trust being set up a former drug squad cop to talk about meth in schools across New Zealand, starting in the Bay.
Rudd said he was keen to help out in a new charitable trust called Project Meth, which former drug squad cop Dale Kirk was starting.
Mount-based Kirk wants to initiate a roll out of workshops and talks on methamphetamine in high schools, starting in the Bay, and Rudd told the Bay of Plenty Times he wanted to help.
"There is a big problem and you do need to talk to the young people, but if you make it a voluntary thing, only the straight kids come. I think something in schools that all the kids attend would be good. I would like to help where I can."
I am real good, doing really well and positive, happy, got a new girlfriend, family is good.
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WHO IS PHIL RUDD?
* Born Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis on 19 May 1954 in Melbourne.
* Drummer in Aussie rock band AC/DC from 1975 until 1983, and again from 1994.
* AC/DC is the fourth biggest selling band in the history of recorded music.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with the other members of AC/DC.
* Rudd lives in a waterfront mansion in Bureta, Tauranga
* He moved to New Zealand in 1983 after being sacked from AC/DC and stayed here after he rejoined.
* In 2011 he bought a restaurant at Tauranga's Bridge Marina Phil's Place. He also owns a cafe the Last Gasp.
* Motorsport fan known for his collection of "toys" including a helicopter, a launch Barchetta and a supercar collection including a Ferrari 599, an NZV8, a 2010 Mercedes SLS AMG with the numberplate Sonor, a 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, and a Can Am race car
* This year was named one of the top 100 drummers of all time, coming in at number 86 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of drumming greats
* Six children Steven, Thomas, Jack, Milla, Tuesday and Lucia