Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has reflected on the violence during the band's show at the Antrim Forum in May 1988, saying "all hell broke loose" after comments were made about The Troubles by frontman Dave Mustaine.

The infamous gig saw Mustaine - who later confessed to being drunk and ignorant of The Troubles - dedicating a song to "The Cause" and telling the audience: "Give Ireland back to the Irish."

Violence erupted in the crowd and the band had to leave the venue. Mustaine subsequently apologised for his behaviour and the offence he had caused.

The incident became the inspiration for the 1990 Megadeth song Holy Wars... The Punishment Due, and metal website Blabbermouth reports that Ellefson returned to the controversy in an interview with Poughkeepsie, New York radio station Z93.  

When asked if the 1988 concert was the most frightening incident during his time in the band, Ellefson replied: "Well, I was really drunk when it happened, so I was probably a little numb to what was going on."

"You know, it's interesting, Kristian Nairn, who plays Hodor on Game of Thrones, spoke very openly about that incident in my new book, More Life With Deth," Ellefson continued. 

"I had a lot of people tell their Megadeth stories throughout their life in my book, and he, of all people, was at that show as a young Megadeth fan, and he talks very openly and clearly as he saw it in the audience. But I do remember… it was very polarising. I mean, basically, think U2 with Sunday Bloody Sunday - they wrote that song about the warring factions of the Protestants and the Catholics, the Irish and the English, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland.

"We were based in Southern Ireland, which is Dublin - a more Catholic faction and very friendly and peaceful. But, man, when we went up North, there was a hard border line… I remember the guns, and coming out of the immigration, they check your passport, and you really felt like you were going into a warzone. 

"Dave, he's not one to mince words onstage. And we were very unclear of what was happening - the whole thing with the IRA. And it was just a moment that, quite honestly, we were not very well educated on, and a comment was made, and suddenly all hell broke loose. They quickly escorted us off stage in a bullet-proof bus, and they said, 'You guys need to get out of here'. And we rolled out. And, yeah, the place got trashed, and it was just one of those things. 

"I'll tell you one thing: it teaches you, when you travel, you can be an observer, but you really need to kind of watch your Ps and Qs and show up, play your songs, 'Thank you very much', and then be on your way."

In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, a remorseful Mustaine discussed the background to the incident, saying: "I saw people selling [bootleg] T-shirts in front of a venue and asked what it was about, and he said 'The Cause'. And when the guy told me what it meant, he just said, 'Oh, it's just prejudiced religion. One religion thinks it's better than another religion...

"And I went, 'Well, s***, I don't know if I'm either one of them, but I'm certainly not any one of those two because I don't judge other religions'. So at the concert, I introduced a song by saying, 'This one's for The Cause' from the stage and [whistles] wrong thing to say. I learned my lesson quick so I don't talk about religion anymore."

In June, Mustaine revealed that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer and thanked fans for their support.

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