Phil Rudd is back in black in Europe, rocking out AC/DC classics, as well as his own music, in honour of his former bandmate, vocalist Bon Scott - and the rocker isn't giving up the ghost of an AC/DC comeback.

Rudd and his band of Kiwi musicians from Tauranga and Rotorua played to an international crowd of 1500 in Scotland last weekend, belting out AC/DC anthems Shot Down in Flames, and Rock and Roll Damnation.

Rudd's solo band Phil Rudd, headlined rock music festival Bonfest, the 11th International Bon Scott Festival, which took place in Scott's hometown of Kirriemuir, Scotland.

I didn't cope with it, and it is only in the last years I have really properly grieved for my friend.


It was 37 years since Scott's death at 33 of alcohol poisoning, but fans continue to pay tribute in the town which last year unveiled a life-sized statue of the singer.


The band also played Rudd's own unique thumping rock from his debut 11-track solo album Head Job.

Rudd told the Bay of Plenty Times that he had never really got over Scott's death.

"He had the most beautiful voice and was a great man. A legend. When he died, we were in the middle of this crazy thing.

"It was a shock, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't cope with it, and it is only in the last years I have really properly grieved for my friend."

Phil Rudd with his band of musicians from Rotorua and Tauranga. Photo/Supplied
Phil Rudd with his band of musicians from Rotorua and Tauranga. Photo/Supplied

Rudd said during his recent home detention in Tauranga he had reflected a lot on Scott and dealt with some of those issues about losing a friend.

Rudd's partner, Michelle Cutelli, said she could see Rudd's grief when she saw a photo and video of him at Bon's statue.

"You can see Phil is quite sad. He doesn't look up at all. It must have been very emotional."

Rudd and Scott had become friends and bandmates when Rudd joined AC/DC in 1975.

"The next five years were a big ride."

The band burst full-throttle onto the music scene with mega hits like It's a Long Way to the Top If You Want to Rock'n Roll, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, the title track to their 1976 album, and 1978's Highway to Hell.

By 1980, the band was reaching the height of fame when Scott was tragically found dead in a car in London.

Phil Rudd with AC/DC. Photo/Supplied
Phil Rudd with AC/DC. Photo/Supplied

The Bonfest gig was part of Rudd's Back to the Beat European tour of 18 countries which he began in March in Oslo, Norway, and which would end in July in Berlin, Germany.

The 62-year-old drummer said he was loving being back on the road, and "fighting fit" despite his brush with death late last year when he had a heart attack in Tauranga and subsequent heart surgery.

Now back on the road again, he was liking getting close to the fans again, back to playing in intimate clubs, a game change from the massive stadiums of AC/DC days. He said playing live was what he did best.

After the tour, he would return to New Zealand to his Tauranga waterfront home which he shares with his fashion and wedding photographer partner Michelle Cutelli and his daughters.

Rudd told the Bay of Plenty Times he would not rule out "doing something with AC/DC" and was keen to work on some ideas with Angus.

He confirmed he had now been in touch with his former bandmates including the band's bassist Cliff Williams and singer Brian Johnson. But for now, Rudd said he is just doing what he does.

"I'm just the drummer. I am just a guy who likes to play drums. Rock on."