Red Hot Chili Peppers Were Faking It at the Super Bowl

Red Hot Chili Peppers Half Time
Red Hot Chili Peppers (Photo Courtesy of NFL)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been against any singer/band miming a performance, however in order to perform on the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show, they had to agree to do so without playing live. The vocals were performed live by Anthony Kiedis, but the band took the stage without their instruments plugged in. The reason: the NFL made it a non-negotiable part of the Super Bowl contract.
Flea addressed the issue head-on in a letter on the band’s official website which said in part, “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. 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.”
Kiedis, Josh Klinghoffer, Chad Smith, and Flea decided to bend the band’s rules and mime their performances because of the importance of the gig and because they’re all football fans who wanted to be a part of the Super Bowl.
“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,” explained Flea. “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 band recorded the track and then during the actual Super Bowl halftime show, they performed along to that pre-recorded track. Flea says they could have tried to fool everyone by plugging in their instruments but did not, even though they knew in advance that it would cause a stir. “Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. 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. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people,” offered Flea.
-Posted by Rebecca Murray

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