While EDM culture is ripe with allegations of DJs playing pre-recorded sets and hiring ghost producers to make hit songs, mainstream music was hit with a similar controversy this past weekend. During the Halftime Show with Bruno Mars, the Red Hot Chili Peppers took the stage without their instruments "plugged in".
The internet was abuzz with photos, clearly showing that band's instruments were not connected to any cables or some sort of "future technology". The RHCP didn't even try to hide it - they were ''miming" their set.
Yesterday, Flea, the band's bass guitar player, came clean and explained the charade, going on RedHotChiliPeppers.com and issuing an statement:
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. 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. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.
He goes on to explain that the prerecorded instrumental was made especially for the Super Bowl Halftime Show and that the band could have faked it entirely by attaching cords to their guitars, but decided against it. He equates the performance to that of a "making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it."
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The bottom line - the Red Hot Chili Peppers admitted that they weren't plugged in and explained why. This leaves it up to their fans to make the choice if they would like to continue supporting them or not.
I'd hope that artists in the EDM community will take note of and respect the honesty of Flea and apply that to future gaffes where they are caught red handed "faking the funk". If there is good reason, and the artist has and established history of "killing it, IRL", most likely the fans will follow.
If not, well the "artist" is probably just a poser, plain and simple.
Read Flea's full statement here.