The Red Hot Chili Peppers made headlines for their Super Bowl halftime show performance with Bruno Mars, but now the band has some explaining to do. After some viewers noted that Flea’s instrument wasn’t even plugged in during the band’s performance of their song “Give It Away,” the bassist penned an open letter to explain the situation.
On Feb. 4, Rolling Stone posted an excerpt from the letter to fans, in which the 51-year old rocker said he chose to have his bass visibly unplugged in lieu of “pretending” to play it live.
While he acknowledged that the band would normally not do "any sort of miming," because performing live “is a sacred thing” for them, he revealed the reason why his instrument was not connected to his amp during the half time show gig.
"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," he wrote. "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."
The group agreed to use a recorded a version of the track to play with Mars, but Flea says they were still playing.
"For the actual performance, Josh [Klinghoffer, guitar], Chad [Smith, drums], and I were playing along with the prerecorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not," he wrote. "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 nonissue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. “
In an interview with the Associated Press, RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedis said his band had been in talks for years to perform at the high profile Super Bowl show.
"The conversation had occurred prior over the years," Kiedis said backstage, after his band’s performance of their classic song. The rock star toasted the halftime show headliner. "Bruno Mars is a complete and utter gentleman. I gained a ton of respect. He was awesome, intelligent (and) kind," Kiedis said.