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Flea Defends RHCP Not Being Plugged-In At Super Bowl

Wednesday, February 5th 2014 16:03

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Band responds to accusations of fakery.

Following Sunday's performance at the Super Bowl halftime show in New Jersey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were accused of playing to a recorded backing track for their rendition of Give It Away.

Two trustworthy sources in the form of Planet Rock favourites Joe Bonamassa and Vernon Reid of Living Colour took to Twitter to express their amazement at Chillis bass player Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer so shamelessly playing what seemed to be unplugged guitars. A fairly skilled guitarist himself, Vernon Reid wrote "That guitar is plugged into NOTHING," while Bonamassa added, "Flea... I mean we all know, but for god's sake at least try to humor the children".
Bass player Flea has now confirmed the rumours in a statement. He defends the band’s decision saying:

“When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno [Mars] 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.
"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' 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 take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert, knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. 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 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. 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. 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. I would do it all the same way again.”

Watch footage of their performance below:

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