Flea responds to criticism over "mimed" Super Bowl halftime performance
Flea has posted a message via the Red Hot Chili Peppers' official site on Tuesday (2/4) explaining why photos surfaced following their halftime performance with Bruno Mars showing no guitar cable plugged into his bass guitar.
"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," his statement began.
While possibly a shock to some viewers, this is actual standard procedure for Super Bowl halftime shows. In 2009, the mere rumor that Bruce Springsteen would pre-record the E Street Band for his halftime performance pulled the topic into daylight.
"The Super Bowl performances are all on tape," said Hank Neuberger, who is supervisor of the broadcast audio for the Grammy Awards telecast in a Chicago Tribune story at the time.
"There is no way you can set up a full band in five minutes with microphones, get all the settings right, and expect to get quality sound,"" he added. "The Super Bowl has been doing that for years with virtually all the bands."
In the hours after the Chili Peppers played their guest appearance in Bruno Mars' halftime show, photos surfaced making it clear that Flea and Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer were not plugged in. Reaction on Twitter was swift and negative.
"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," Flea's statement continued. "There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period."
"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," the lengthy statement added. "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."
The full statement is available here.