Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has written an official letter of explanation to fans regarding their performance during the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Lost amidst the deplorable game that the Broncos played on Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend is an uproar from music fans. You may have noticed that when the Red Hot Chili Peppers came out to perform their hit “Give It Away,” none of the instruments were plugged in. Fans cried foul, turning to statements the band has made about never wanting to mime again after some horrible experiences. The Chili Peppers are about the music, say these fans, and such a display of utter dismissiveness is a slap in the face.
In the letter Flea first gives a bit of history regarding the band’s previous run ins with required miming, including their mocking of the practice on Top of the Pops in the late 80s. Essentially the band has decided that they’d rather have a bad live show than to ever mime playing instruments. Then the NFL approached them, and part of the agreement that was non-negotiable was miming of instruments.
The band mulled it over for a long time, and in the end decided it was a great opportunity to spread their music. So for their own sakes, and to ensure fans knew it wasn’t real, they deliberately left the instruments unplugged. They didn’t even try to hide it, which probably was part of the anger from some fans. The offense was so blatant.
From the letter:
”For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it.”
It should also be noted that the vocals were, at least according to Flea, performed live. So Anthony and Bruno were singing, even if the music was a pre-recorded track.