AN American rocker has reflected on the riot he started at a gig in Antrim during the Troubles - that led him to write one of his biggest hits.
Megadeth singer Dave Mustaine said it was like he had "set off a bomb in the audience" when he dedicated a song to 'the cause' even though he had no clue about politics here.
The heavy metal star later penned a song called Holy Wars... The Punishment Due after seeing the "unforgettable" 1988 concert erupt in sectarian violence because of his outburst.
Dave (59) said: "At the concert, I went outside to sign some autographs. I walked past a little red-headed kid standing by a giant 20-foot fence. 'F*** you, Dave Mustaine,' he said and spat on me.
"I was furious, but when I got backstage, I learned that the spitting-they called it gobbing-was a sign of respect from punk rockers. Respect? Is that right?
"Back inside, I heard over the walkie-talkie that somebody was inside the venue selling bootleg Megadeth T-shirts. I told security to find him, confiscate his shirts, and escort him out. When they found him, he told them he was selling the shirts for the cause. I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded cool.
"I was downstairs talking with one of the locals, still pissed off about being spat on, and getting myself a Guinness when he told me if I drew a happy face in the beer foam, I will always have a drinking partner. I thought that was cute, so I drew a face in the foam and started sipping my Guinness.
"It occurred to me to ask this nice Northern Irishman 'What's the cause?' He told me that Ireland was split between the Catholics and the Protestants and they don't like each other. He didn't really go into detail. That was in the back of my mind when I went up onstage to play."
In a new book, Dave said that it was a scene of mayhem even before the gig with missiles being thrown from the rowdy crowd and booze and drugs being taken backstage.
He revealed: "It was our first time there and everybody was going mad. There was one kid behind the barricades throwing coins at me.
"The coins were heavy, like three quarters taped together. You get hit by one, they leave a mark. This guy was throwing these things. I took off my guitar and called him out and the show stopped. I went behind the amps to wait for the green light to go out and play again and there was a regular Sodom and Gomorrah behind the amp line where the stage crew was slamming peppermint schnapps and snorting lines.
"These guys were having more fun than I was, even though I had already seen a couple of drinking partners smile all the way down. I had a shot of schnapps and some of everything else and went back out.
"Full of everything and looking out at the crowd, a song I had heard by Paul McCartney popped into my mind, and I thought, 'If it's good enough for Sir Paul, it's good enough for me.'
"I walked up to the microphone and said, 'Give Ireland back to the Irish. This one is for the cause.' We slammed into the Sex Pistols song Anarchy In The UK, which we altered to Anarchy in Antrim for the occasion.
"It was like I had set off a bomb in the audience. It divided the crowd right down the middle, Protestants and Catholics.
"We were escorted out of town that night in a bulletproof bus, although I still didn't realise the enormity of my gaffe."
A day later, Dave started writing the lyrics to Holy Wars which would feature on their album Rust in Peace and reached number 24 in the UK charts and the Top 10 in the Republic.
He added: "It became one of our biggest songs. In fact, we close our shows with it. The first verse came straight out of my experience at Antrim: 'Brother will kill brother spilling blood across the land, Killing for religion, something I don't understand'."
n Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece by Dave Mustaine is on sale now.