PHIL RUDD – Head Job

Phil Rudd - Head jobWhen it comes to making solo albums, if a singer or a guitarist makes them, then no one raises an eye brow and in this day and age, playing in multiple bands and releasing solo stuff is more or less a must if you want to make a living playing music. Unless you’re in huge band like Kiss. Or Iron Maiden. Or AC/DC. But when a bass player or a drummer takes the chance on making a solo album, it almost becomes a WOW – moment. I mean, even a guy like Steve Harris, when he released his British Lion album, people were a bit astonished by that – and he’s the main song writer in Iron Maiden. It’s even worse with drummers. Maybe it’s because drummers usually doesn’t write songs or sings – drummers are more anonymous in that department. But even with drummers, if you would pin point the most unlikely member of any band to release a solo album, AC/DC – drummer Phil Rudd would probably make the top of the list. I mean, Phil Rudd is the guy that is known for his steady beat that gives AC/DC their infectious groove and a solid foundation to build their songs upon, but other than that, they guy is pretty anonymous. I actually found myself thinking that I hardly knew how the guy looks. AC/DC are Malcolm Young and Angus Young. Then we have Bon Scott or Brian Johnson. Cliff Williams? Ok, we know how he looks, but Rudd? Nah! I literary don’t know squat about the guy. Except that he plays drums. So, when the news broke that Rudd was about to release a solo album, my first reaction was: What? Is this a joke? Who is gonna buy a solo album by Phil Rudd? Of all people! Ok, so the hardcore AC/DC fan might run out to buy this just because it’s him, but I have a big problem seeing Rudd’s solo career going any further than down to the local pub. Fact is, when it comes to Rudd, the last time he made the news was when he was arrested for marijuana possession a few years back and knowing the fact that his epic pot problem was the biggest reason for his departure in 1983, one might have hoped he’d calmed down by now. Apparently not as in time for this album release, Rudd (born Phillip Hugh Norman Witschke Rudzevecuis) was once again arrested, this time for attempt to arrange murder and for crystal meth possession. Even though the attempt to murder charges were later dropped, it’s crystal (sic) clear that Rudd has some huge problems when it comes to drugs. All of this happens when he is about to release his debut solo album and AC/DC is about to release a new album and go on tour. This guy needs help and my guess is he needs it fast. The AC/DC groove is not the same without Rudd behind the kit.

Back to his album, then. Even though it was unexpected to get a solo album from Rudd, it was also interesting. Very interesting. The title track kicks off the album and the song really surprised me in a good way. I wasn’t surprised that the song was a groovy blues rocker, but I was surprised of just how good the song was – and how catchy it was. Same with “Sun Goes Down”, a heavy blues rocker, not a far cry from what he does in AC/DC. “Lonely Child” is a real killer, it sounds like a softer – or maybe less punky – Motörhead with Rudd’s vocals sounding like a cleaner version of Lemmy. Another surprise is “Crazy”, an acoustic based pop song – this is very good stuff, Phil. Motörhead comes back in as an influence in the next bunch of songs as well. “Bad Move” is slow and heavy and the Lemmy influence is very clear and “The Other Side” is a pop song, but it’s pop the way Lemmy and his boys would have made it – Motörhead pop, very cool. “Repo Man” was the first single and (lyric) video from this album and the closing track “When I Get My Hands On You” are both very much AC/DC sounding, but both of them also comes with a twist of Motörhead. I guess it is Rudd’s voice that brings the Motörhead twist into the songs.

As a whole, this album was surprisingly good, but it must be stated that this is music for the pub, not for arenas, very stripped and raw three-piece band music and my guess is that Rudd’s solo music goes down better with a few cold ones inside. I thought this would sound a lot more like AC/DC, but that influence is not as strong as one might have expected, there is more of a Motörhead influence here, a lot of the melodies has a Lemmy vibe to them. Phil’s vocals is also a nice surprise. He’s no Pavarotti by any means, but that is not what this kind of music needs. He sounds like a mix between Bon Scott and Lemmy and he kind of talk/sings his way through the songs. The biggest problem with this album, however, is that it doesn’t really leave you wanting more. The songs are all good when you listen to them, but there is no “I wanna hear this again and again” – feeling, I’m quite satisfied to just hear this once and I haven’t really had the urge to put it on again, but as soon as one of the songs shows up on my playlist I go: “Wow, this is really damn good…” That said, this album will work splendidly on the after work party or when you have some friends over for beer, but I doubt it will go platinum. I’d love to see them play at the local pub / rock club though.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)


01. Head Job
02. Sun Goes Down
03. Lonely Child
04. Lost In America
05. Crazy
06. Bad Move
07. No Right
08. The Other Side
09. 40 Days
10. Repo Man
11. When I Get My Hands On You

3 comments on “PHIL RUDD – Head Job

  1. Did not like British Lion. Nope. Haven’t played it in a long time.

    I’m surprised to hear about the direction of this album. I would have expected an AC/DC sound too. I guess Phil isn’t a one trick pony. But you’re right, he does need to take his life seriously and get help. Crystal Meth and hookers are not the path to a happy healthy life Phil. I wish him only the best, but I speculate that his career with AC/DC could be over. Which is sad, as you said, they don’t sound as much like AC/DC without Phil behind the kit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.