Interview:Simplicity of Style


Part 1: Returning to AC/DC / Mastering Simplicity

Part 2: Tempo vs. Feel / Tension and Release / Ear Protection

Part 3: Phil's Kit / Breaking Heads / Left Hook Rudd

Part 4: Headbanging = Deafness: AC/DC's Phil Rudd's Tips for Hearing-Salvation

Part 5: Phil Rudd's Setup


Phil Rudd: Simplicity of Style


Part 1: Returning to AC/DC / Mastering Simplicity



AC/DC's Phil Rudd may play like the original heavy metal heathen, but this soft-spoken drummer views his style as pristine, elemental and pure, like the blast emanating from that first heavy metal explosion, the big bang. On such classic AC/DC tracks as "Highway To Hell," "Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)," and "For Those About To Rock.... We Salute You" Rudd delivered exactly what the music ordered, a galvanic groove of booming bass and snare drum pillage, the perfect compliment to the brutal blues riffage of guitarists Malcolm and Angus Young. But unlike the clich· of many testosterone-fueled piledrivers, witless beyond words and ready to drink all into the nearest stupor, Rudd is surprisingly articulate and intelligent. This is not a man who takes a two and four groove lightly. Rudd understands the power and grace behind the perfectly placed snare drum rim shot, and the value of pacing, timing, space and flow -- and he knows how to put it altogether.


Returning to AC/DC with 1995's Ballbreaker, Rudd and Co. return to classic hard rock form with Stiff Upper Lip. Following such seminal albums as Back In Black and the aforementioned For Those About to Rock..., Stiff Upper Lip is raunchy and rough, brandishing the same bare-knuckled style the Aussie band has blazed since 1973. From the illustrious title track to the foreboding "House of Jazz" to the dynamic beat machinations of "I Feel Safe in New York City," AC/DC are back on the block, bigger and badder than ever. spoke with AC/DC's backbone about ear protection, racecar driving, goat herding, timekeeping, cymbal bashing, and how to wait for ultimate satisfaction. You left AC/DC for a number of years. How did you re-acclimate yourself to the band?


Phil Rudd: It is just sort of a groove thing. I didn't really think about it too much. We have a good thing, there is a natural interplay between us that we are very conscious of and we enjoy, but without thinking about it. It is just what it is. Was that apparent the first time the band played together?


Rudd: The first time we played together it was just a jam thing in a hallway. I didn't know the material or who they were. They liked my playing and gave me the job on the spot. Then our style or the feel came into it. Either you fit or you don't. That is the basic criteria. It is as simple and elemental as the music.


Rudd: Absolutely. The simplicity has always been the most important thing. The attention to getting everything out of that simple thing. That is one of the hardest lessons for drummers to learn. You are a master at ...


Rudd: Waiting. Took the words out of my mouth! How do you wait so long?


Rudd: Because it is worth it to wait. It ain't finished yet. You have got to wait for it. In some of the songs, I am waiting for anything, a fill, a cymbal crash, and it doesn't happen. But that makes it so perfect in a way. The essence is there.


Rudd: The guys are good mate. There is no doubt about that.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5