Nation & World News

Look Ma, No Cables: Flea Cops To Playing Air Bass At The Super Bowl

By Eyder Peralta on February 4th, 2014

The annals of faking it on stage have a new chapter: After Internet sleuths pointed out that the guitarist and bassist for The Red Hot Chili Peppers did not have their instruments plugged in during their performance at the Super Bowl half time show last Sunday, Flea, the bassist, admitted that they were in fact only pretending to play.

The vocals, however, were live, Flea said in a blog post on Tuesday, where he also explained the NFL gave them no choice, because the set change has to be so fast there are “a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers.”

This comes, of course, after the big hoopla over Beyoncé’s lip synched performance at President Obama’s inauguration last year. (Most of you, by the way, said you weren’t bothered by her lip syncing.)

We’ll leave you with a bit of Flea’s explanation of why the band decided it was OK to mime their way through the half-time performance:

“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.”

Flea pointed out that the band did indeed record an original track for the event.

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