Yes, Flea knows his bass wasn’t plugged in

"The NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period."


Chase Hoffberger


Published Feb 5, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:19 pm CDT

A four-minute performance has turned into four days of fallout. Since barging in on Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl Sunday evening, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have faced myriad accusations about the authenticity of their show.

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Band bassist Flea responded to the accusations Tuesday with a message posted to the band’s website that ran longer than their Sunday performance. In it, he explained how he and his three bandmates arrived at the decision to play one of their only mimed shows in the band’s 30-year history. 

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According to message, “there are a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the TV viewers,” and the plan had always been to incorporate live vocals and pre-recorded bass, drums, and guitar into the mix.

“There was not any room for argument on this,” he wrote. “[T]he NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.”

The performance has evoked memories of Beyoncé’s famous lip-synching at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last year. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have long held that they won’t take part in any miming or lip-synching during their performances—Flea wrote how the last time they were asked to do such a thing, they were kicked off the UK’s Top of the Pops for making a mockery of the “performance”—but the “surreal-like, once in a lifetime” notion of performing at the Super Bowl trumped preexisting standards the Chili Peppers had created pertaining to performance. 

“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,” he said. “Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision.”

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The band decided that, with Anthony Kiedis singing live, they could still “bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance,” and they made efforts to record a new rendition of the song especially 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.”

And it was quite fun. In fact, from certain vantage points, it was the most entertaining four minutes of the night.

Either way, this is the second time that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been associated with something deemed fake in the past week. Last Friday, a song called “Abracadabralifornia” burst onto the Internet under the guise of being a Red Hot Chili Peppers production, though it was clear the band had nothing to do with it. 

Photo via Red Hot Chili Peppers/Facebook

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*First Published: Feb 5, 2014, 10:41 am CST