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AC/DC Drummer Replaced Ahead Of Trial

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been given a date for his criminal trial just two days after the legendary rock band announced it will replace him.

Rudd, 60, is before the New Zealand courts on charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamine and cannabis.

His judge-alone trial will be held in Tauranga District Court on April 21, just two weeks before AC/DC starts its world Rock or Bust tour.

The band announced on Saturday that its former drummer Chris Slade will replace Rudd for the tour, according to Australian music blog fasterlouder.com.au.

Rudd, who maintains his innocence, was arrested in November and charged over an incident on September 26 in which, according to a police summary of facts, Rudd rang a man he knew and threatened to kill both him and his daughter.

This was consistent with another phone call made by Rudd earlier that morning, the summary of facts said.

The drug charges were laid after police executed a search warrant at Rudd's home on November 6. Police say Rudd had 0.71g of methamphetamine and 130g of cannabis in his possession.

He was also charged with attempting to procure a murder when he appeared in court in November, but it was dropped by the crown solicitor the following day.

Lawyer Craig Tuck said he had "major concerns" with the treatment of his client throughout the case.

The murder-related charge in particular had done "incalculable damage" to Rudd's reputation, he told NZ Newswire on Monday.

"The whole thing has been extremely disruptive for him," the lawyer said.

Mr Tuck said the charges would be "strongly defended". "We're engaging in a thorough and detailed review of all the evidence and we're looking forward to having all matters resolved on that April date."

Meanwhile former AC/DC star Chris Slade has confirmed he is replacing Rudd for the band's big Grammy Awards performance.

Slade will re-join the line-up 20 years after he left the group to make way for original drummer Rudd, who was re-admitted a decade after his firing in 1983.

Slade announced the news in a statement posted on his official website:

"This is an amazing opportunity for me. After all, most people don't ever get to play with their favourite band once, let alone twice! I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support I have been shown... It has been very humbling. Thanks so much. We apologise for the secrecy, please understand this was for all the right reasons."

AAP

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