He gave it away and would do it again. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea confirmed Tuesday, Feb. 4 what viewers already suspected: the rock group's Super Bowl performance alongside Bruno Mars was pre-recorded.
"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 in a 931-word letter posted to the RHCP's website. "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."
Indeed, Bruno Mars' Super Bowl Halftime Show featuring the Chili Peppers shattered ratings records, attracting an audience of 115.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. "There was not any room for argument on this," Flea continued Tuesday. "The NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period."
The bassist shared that the band, which includes frontman/singer Anthony Kiedis, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, considered the terms and met with "beautiful dude" and "real talented musician" Mars before agreeing to perform: "We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it," Flea wrote. "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."
Another big factor that helped their decision? The band's love of the sport. "The RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision," he dished. "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 said it was never the band's intention to trick fans. In fact, the Chili Peppers put it all out onstage: "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," 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 non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend."
"I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig," Flea concluded in his open letter.
"I would do it all the same way again."
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