An energetic-particle (EP)-driven “off-axis-fishbone-like mode (OFM)” often triggers a resistive wall mode (RWM) in JT-60U and DIII-D devices, preventing long-duration high-b N discharges. In these experiments, the EPs are energetic ions (70–85 keV) injected by neutral beams to produce high-pressure plasmas. EP-driven bursting events reduce the EP density and the plasma rotation simultaneously. These changes are significant in high-b N low-rotation plasmas, where the RWM stability is predicted to be strongly influenced by the EP precession drift resonance and by the plasma rotation near the q 1/4 2 surface (kinetic effects). Analysis of these effects on stability with a self-consistent perturbation to the mode structure using the MARS-K code showed that the impact of EP losses and rotation drop is sufficient to destabilize the RWM in low-rotation plasmas, when the plasma rotation normalized by Alfve´n frequency is only a few tenths of a percent near the q 1/4 2 surface. The OFM characteristics are very similar in JT-60U and DIII-D, including nonlinear mode evolution. The modes grow initially like a classical fishbone, and then the mode structure becomes strongly distorted. The dynamic response of the OFM to an applied n 1/4 1 external field indicates that the mode retains its external kink character. These comparative studies suggest that an energetic particle-driven “off-axis-fishbone-like mode” is a new EP-driven branch of the external kink mode in wall-stabilized plasmas, analogous to the relationship of the classical fishbone branch to the internal kink mode. V C 2011 American Institute of Physics.