AC/DC's Phil Rudd: Why I Refuse to Play Drum Solos

"The only time I've played a drum solo is when the PA went down."

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AC/DC's Phil Rudd: Why I Refuse to Play Drum Solos
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Classic AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was asked by Music Radar about his reluctance to play drum solos and whether he was ever "tempted to throw a solo into the AC/DC show," to which he replied:

"Nah mate! I didn't want to make a total piss out of myself.

"The only time I've played a drum solo is when the PA went down when we played one time at Wembley Stadium.

"Everything went down, the whole thing and the only thing that anyone could hear was my acoustic kit. So everyone said, 'Keep it going, Phil, keep it going.'

"But as for solos, nah, I fuck around a little bit at home. I'm always playing something; I think it's more just like a form of ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], to be honest. [Laughs]

"I've got all sorts of toys that I play with at home. But when it gets time to work I'll strip the kit right down to what I always use.

"That's all that I need and I know that it all works."

Asked if he used click track on his latest solo album "Head Job," Phil replied:

"Nah, no click, mate. It was just pure determination. I thought the timing on the album was pretty good, especially considering that there's not a click on there.

"Way back in England in the late '70s, we tried using a click in the studio and we just couldn't. It just didn't sound right, it didn't sound right for the band.

"On some occasions we did use a click, but I won't tell you which songs we used one on. [Laughs].

"That worked for us as well though, I quite enjoyed it. Using a click made life fuckin' easy. It took a whole lot of pressure away from you. Either way though it's all good as far as I'm concerned."

You can check out the "Head Job" title track in the embedded player below.

40 comments sorted by best / new / date

    joplambrix
    Refuses to play drum solos --> Video of 'drum solo' --> I click.. I'm such a dumbass.
    Eifler121
    I honestly can't think of a time where I really got into a drum solo at a concert that was longer than maybe 2-4 bars. It's one of those things, to me, that it's hard to tell really good ones from really bad ones sometimes.
    2Ties
    Saw Rush on their last tour, and honestly Neil Peart's drum solo was one of the highlights of the show, he is an absolute madman and was just tearing it up, even at like 68 yrs old. I think the key to his solos is that he composes them like a song, so they have structure and their own almost narrative arc. Either way he's a fucking animal, best show I've seen.
    slapsymcdougal
    Yea, but you've nailed the 2 things that make his solos standouts - firstly, that he's Neil motherfucking Peart, and second, he doesn't just play every fill he knows that didn't find it's way into a song and call it a solo.
    maxxxkolo
    Go to a jazz show then. Those guys can play drum solos just as mesmerizing as a guitar solo.
    Eifler121
    Jazz drummers are definitely interesting, but I just can't get into jazz otherwise. It's like study music to me; learning it and being able to know what's going on is good for educational purposes, but I don't really enjoy it as something to listen to.
    Eifler121
    That being said, they definitely can be great, they just usually aren't.
    Mr Winters
    I like drum solos where the drummer just plays cool interesting grooves with a bit of flair and some fast bits here and there. Drum solos that are basically "watch me hit every single piece of the kit faster than your brain can keep track of for 7 minutes" are impressive but get boring fast. Same as with guitar solos, really. I like Mario Duplantier's drum solos. He's like a Guthrie Govan of drums, fast and technical but tasteful and fun to listen to at the same time.
    raininblood321
    he's too tired from playing all those difficult AC/DC songs
    ShredderMan1
    His songs maybe easy but their killer. Not to mention hes a seasoned pro. Just a solid rock drummer. He plays what acdc needs bro. Not so pumped everyone gives him such a hard time is all
    jath_1517
    I don't know, a 17 minuet Let There be Rock at the end of a 2 hour gig cant be that easy.
    jarrodreedie
    Deadset one of the absolute worst drummers to make it big in a band that's gone places. The bloke struggles to play fills, let alone solos hahah
    suicidehummer
    Please do provide evidence of him struggling to play fills. Because I've only ever seen him nail every one. Not to mention he has the best groove and swing of any drummer I can think of. You must be a really lousy musician if you can't pick up on that...
    jarrodreedie
    Ummm Steve Jordan? Stewart Copeland? Danny Carey? John Bonham? Rob Hirst? Jose Pasilias? Brad Wilk?  There's plenty more but that'll do. All have better groove and swing than Phil, and this is coming from a guy who loves AC/DC. The guy can keep time but that's where the fun stops.
    suicidehummer
    Not that it's in any way provable one way or the other, but his groove is as good as any of them. If you think Phil is simply keeping time, you have not heard Simon Wright with them in the '80s or Chris Slade (who at least made up for it with technical proficiency and his own heavier style). Wright had zero redeeming qualities. He is what you ludicrously accuse Phil of being. And you avoided my request for evidence...
    chuck_lake
    He sure isn't a virtuoso, I don't think he can play solos, or (as a drummer) that AC/DC's songs are anything close to difficult, either, but jnnupe83's got a point. Besides, he does what works for the band and keeps the rhythm. That's not being a bad drummer.
    horseman308
    Yes, he's horrible. The only worse ones I can think of are Ringo and Charlie Watts..... Oh wait. Heaven forbid that half the RHYTHM section focus on great RHYTHM and the best thing for the band's needs than on finding away to be flashy every 30 seconds.
    Jenrac
    Really thought I was going to be disappointed by the track off of his solo album, but Phil can seriously hold a groove. That video, on the other hand...
    vIsIbleNoIsE
    i think drum solos can be good, but it's just that most of them (even across genres, both metal and jazz are guilty) are the equivalent of full-on shred guitar solos.  drums are nothing without groove/rhythm.
    GR84
    Why did they have to attach that damned "Head Job" song! That is the most by the numbers rock song i have heard in some time, sorry but i just find it so annoying for some reason
    JorshWarsh
    The thing about Phil is that he inspired a countless number of individuals to start playing the drums.  Everybody thinks they can play AC/DC, but probably not nearly as good as he can.  
    Deathoholic
    He doesn't need to do solos. His groove is legendary. I could listen to it for days.
    suicidehummer
    And his fills are actually more powerful than most because of how restrained they are. Leaving some room to breathe adds weight to the fills. Take Walk All Over You for example:
    The9
    AC/DC's Phil Rudd: Why I Refuse to Play Drum Solos Because they are stupid as shit!
    iAmBaTmAn65
    Nothing wrong with basic drumming dude, as long as it serves the song, and keeps things together.
    The9
    A drum solo doesn't. I've heard many drum solos over the years and maybe 2/3 have been in fitting with the song
    iAmBaTmAn65
    They do, I'm just saying some people prefer to just follow and given ACDC is a guitar band and that's the focus, look at the Ramones they're amazing and used basic everything
    Anjohl
    Drum solos *never* work. They have 5-6 notes. I am a "drums guy", but I'd rather hear an extended instrumental improv than a drum solo. Bass solos don't usually work either.
    PRSguitars87
    ACDC's Phil Rudd: I know longer am a member of ACDC because I got busted for hard drugs and attempted murder. Seriously, hes not even in the band anymore. Are you that desperate for fucking "news?"