Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show found Bruno Mars channeling his inner James Brown while the Red Hot Chili Peppers made a guest appearance. Those who watched closely noticed something a little off about the band’s performance–their instruments. Within minutes, fans took to the internet to point out that Flea’s bass and Josh Klinghoffer’s guitar were not plugged in for their mimed performance. After a few days of arguing among fans, Flea took to the band’s website to give their side of the story.
According to Flea, the band’s mimed performance came at the request of the NFL after they were asked to perform with Mars. “It was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, guitar, and drums would be pre-recorded,” Flea said. The band has long opposed miming live performance, a stance that got them booted off of the U.K. program Top Of The Pops in the 1980s. However, Flea said that the band’s hands were tied by the NFL, who “[did] not want their show to be botched by bad sound, period.”
Both Klinghoffer and drummer Chad Smith have defended the band’s decision not to plug in their instruments, saying that “it would be better not to pretend.”