The Red Hot Chili Peppers received a lot of heat for their performance during the Super Bowl halftime show, and not in a good way. Social media was buzzing after a picture of Flea’s unplugged bass from the show proved the band was only miming to a pre-recorded version of “Give It Away.”
After a few days of outrage, Flea posted a statement to the Red Hot Chili Peppers website to explain the situation.
“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,” the bassist writes. “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. 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.”
He continues to explain that the band decided not to plug their instruments so as not to pretend, though they could have avoided the ordeal by keeping up appearances.
“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.”
The rest of Flea’s statement can be read here.