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Arts and Entertainment

Flea Explains Why The Red Hot Chili Peppers Mimed Super Bowl Halftime Show

The Red Hot Chili Peppers not really playing their instruments at the Super Bowl. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Flea wrote an open letter to Red Hot Chili Peppers fans explaining why the band decided to play the Super Bowl Halftime Show without actually, well, playing.

On the one hand, the bassist says the band hates performing any shows that required them to mime their playing:

We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

He writes that the last time they mimed a show was on the British television show "Top Of The Pops," and they basically poked fun at their miming by playing guitar with their shoes and wrestling. But on the other hand, the band had trouble turning down such a high-profile show:

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So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. 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, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. 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.

The vocals you heard in the show were live, but the bass, drums, and guitar were all pre-recorded. Flea writes that there wasn't any wiggle room when it came to negotiating with the NFL: "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 band left their instruments unplugged, which tipped off fans, but Flea writes that they thought it would be better to not pretend. In the end, we're just glad they didn't play this song (okay, that actually would have been funny!).

Here's the performance:

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