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Flea, Like a Boss, Defends RHCP "Unplugged" Performance

Feb 05th | categories: Music News

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show
The internet sure got grumpy with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for performing the #SB48 halftime show to a backing track mostly after photos started to emerge of the band using instruments that were in fact no even plugged in. Look, we all know those shows are piped in just like we all know that pro-wrestling is fake. It's all part of the suspension of disbelief. What RHCP did was remind the viewers that indeed all of this is a sham. They broke the 4th wall and internet-troll-bears do not want to be poked (myself included). Clearly, the backlash affected at least bassist Flea.

We get that the script is written for you at an event of this size. Flea took to to further his tweeted message:

Dear everybody,

When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded. I understand the NFL's stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it. The last time we did it (or tried to) was in the late 80's, we were thrown off of 'The Top Of the Pops' television program in the U.K. during rehearsals because we refused to mime properly, I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony's shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage, making a mockery of the idea that it was a real live performance.

We mimed on one or two weird MTV shows before that and it always was a drag. We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.

We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.

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. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.

I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.

We, as a band, aspire to grow as musicians and songwriters, and to continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.



Pretty cool. Are you ok with it?



Flea, Like a Boss, Defends RHCP "Unplugged" Performance
| February 05, 2014 at 6:41AM
Please Enter Your Comments Below

Sell out
| February 05, 2014 at 8:11AM
Rhcp suck anyways This is what happens when you sell out.

Great explanation.
| February 05, 2014 at 9:30AM
They are being sincere about what happened. Good deal. Appreciate the honesty. Shows maturity unlike the 'sellout' labeling. Grow up.

Honesty and such
| February 05, 2014 at 10:01AM
Sure, a live show would've been great, but reality sucks sometimes. As for any "sellout" comments, there is a certain Tool song that comes to mind that you should give a listen. It's definitely NSFW, but the message is pretty clear.

Bryan Dunn
| February 05, 2014 at 5:12PM
I'll preface this by saying I'm a casual Peppers fan. To those who say sell out, you're ignorant. It's easy to say that while your working your programming job or flipping burgers. The challenge of a professional musician is to remain honest and true to what you do, but also to stay relevant and enough in the public eye to keep your career going over 30 years. You can count on one had the number of bands that have done that and kept the core of the band in tact. Just think how many people watched them and said, "hey, I used to love those guys and haven't listened to them in a while" while their running to iTunes to spend some money. It's good business, they did it as right as you could musically within the NFL requirements, and they got to have fun in front of 140 million people. If you say "sell out" and that they should have passed, you clearly know nothing about the music business or the life of a professional musician. Go back to your keyboard or, "can I have cheese on that please"? Keep rocking RHCP.

fair enough
| February 05, 2014 at 6:02PM
I don't care who you are, if you get a chance to play the super bowl you do it. At least they didn't try to pretend

Layne Hansen
| February 05, 2014 at 11:13PM
I met a boy, wearing van 501s....

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