Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea wrote an open message on the band’s website earlier today admitting that the band (with the exception of singer Anthony Kiedis) did not perform live during the halftime show Sunday with Bruno Mars.
Flea mentions that when the NFL and Bruno Mars approached them to sing “Give It Away,” they were required to play to pre-recorded music to ensure that there would be no technical difficulties during the set. After much consideration and knowing that Anthony would be singing live, they agreed.
USA Today was the first to report that Flea did not have his bass plugged during the performance. There have been pictures circulating on the Internet where Flea’s bass is shown to be unplugged.
“For the actual performance,” Flea writes, “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.”
This isn’t the first instance in which the band was asked to mime. In the 1980’s, The Top of the Pops, a show in the U.K., asked them to mime. However, they were thrown off the show because they didn’t “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,” he mentions.
Flea admits that they have also attempted to mime on “one or two” MTV shows before the U.K. incident and always found it a drag. He made it clear that although they were grateful to perform at the Super Bowl along with Bruno Mars, the band take their music seriously.
“It is a sacred thing for us,” he said “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.”