NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Red Hot Chili Peppers decided long ago they were never going to mime a live performance. The band made an exception for the NFL, it turns out.
The group’s bassist, Flea, said in a letter to fans posted on the group’s website Tuesday that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members pretended to play along to a pre-recorded track of “Give It Away” during the Super Bowl halftime show as Anthony Kiedis sang live. The request came from NFL officials who felt it was too difficult to pull off a completely live performance because of potential sound issues.
“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,” Flea wrote. “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 admission came after observers noted Flea and his bandmates weren’t plugged in while performing Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
“The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it,” Flea wrote. “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’ television program in the U.K. 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.”
He added that playing live is “a sacred thing” for his bandmates, who played the night before the Super Bowl at WFAN’s “Big Hello to Brooklyn” concert at Barclays Center.