British prosecutors described the guitarist for renowned rock band R.E.M. as having acted like a naughty child on a plane in April during the first day of his air-rage trial in a London courtroom.
Peter Buck, who avoided photographers and fans at the entrance to the court, pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting cabin crew, being drunk on an aircraft, and damaging property on board a British Airways flight from Seattle to London.
Prosecutor Edward Lewis told the court the 44-year-old Buck began drinking with his tour manager in the first-class cabin soon after boarding the flight.
When crew stopped serving alcohol, Buck tried various tactics to carry on drinking, Lewis said.
“He tried every ruse to get some more drink, even offering the crew money,” Lewis said. “They acted like naughty children.”
Lewis said Buck threatened an air steward, squeezing his tie tightly around his neck, toppled a food trolley, and ripped up a “yellow card” warning from the captain of the aircraft.
The U.S. band R.E.M. has sold an estimated 40 million records worldwide, according to its label, Warner Bros. Records.
Formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 with a line-up of Buck, lead singer Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Bill Berry, the band has released a dozen albums and such hits as “Losing My Religion” and “Everybody Hurts.”
The case was adjourned until Tuesday morning.