For reasons that are unclear, Guns N” Roses” Axl Rose has decided to weigh in on Peppergate, as I”m now calling it, which is better known as the mini-scandal that has erupted since it was revealed that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were not playing live during their guest appearance with Bruno Mars during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday. In fact, their instruments weren”t even plugged in.
In a guest post to The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard posted Tuesday (4) night, Rose sarcastically posited that maybe they were playing wirelessly, and that maybe, “in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.”
And even if they weren”t playing, there was still a bright side (Rose wrote his letter before RCHP”s bassist Flea”s explanation as to why they sang live to a pre-recorded music track) was widely circulated), according to Rose: “If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony [Kiedis] was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!”
He ends on a very clever note: “God Bless America, the Peppers n’ technology… PN”T!”
Maybe he’s just mad at RHCP for showing up for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Both the Peppers and Guns N’ Roses were inducted in 2012, and, as you may recall, Rose was a no show.
Below is Rose”s missive in full. Here is also a link to Flea”s explanation, which I found very refreshing. Without getting defensive, he laid out the band”s thinking behind their decision. And I begrudgingly give them credit that they didn”t plug in and fake it. They had to know that someone, the someone in this case being Living Colour”s Vernon Reid, was going to notice they weren”t plugged in. As they say, it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up, and Flea immediately came clean.
Here”s the thing about the faux controversy: the NFL is actually pretty transparent about the fact that they prefer that acts play to track or even lip sync, especially when the show is in an open-air stadium, as Sunday”s game was. There are too many variables that can go wrong, especially with rain and wind. It”s true for the National Anthem, which is always pre-taped just in case there are issues and the singer can”t sing it live (we discovered that in the Whiteny Houston/National Anthem controversy in 1992).
With the halftime show, the margin for error is even higher: They have six minutes to move the stage onto the field and set everything up, roughly 12 minutes to do the halftime performance, and six minutes to get that massive stage back off the field and start the second half. I remember interviewing the halftime producer the year Prince performed and the only thing the NFL really cares about is that they do not hurt the field in any way. Yes, they want the halftime show to be entertaining and to keep people from flipping channels (and the NFL certainly got its wish this year with a record 115 million tuning in to a lop-sided game), but above all, the mantra is to do no harm to the field.
Clearly, the pressure is now on Bruno Mars to come forth and say if his band was playing to pre-recorded tracks -an issue that Flea didn”t address in his statement. Mars was singing live, just as Kiedis was.
Does it matter if the band wasn”t playing live? Should the NFL run a disclaimer during the Super Bowl declaring that some tracks are pre-recorded live during future halftime shows?
What do you think?
Axl Rose’s commentary:
In The Name Of Science
In regard to the internet’s “no wireless” controversy regarding the Red Hot Chili Peppers Superbowl performance as reported on ESPN…
I enjoyed the show and I’ve no idea what the real story is nor would I want to suggest or imply anyone wasn’t actually performing or that what they were playing wasn’t what we actually heard. That said I feel it’s important to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt.
So consider that maybe sometime before their actual performance that rather than use a guitar cord or standard wireless, that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier.
Maybe they all had microchips installed in their asses and not only pick up the frequencies of their instruments but get Direct TV and the internet too! Like Google Glass… Google Ass! They could be “Scientific Pioneers!” Like Buzz Aldrin and shit! True (pardon the pun) ASS-tro-nots! Or like Superbowl crash test dummies for bands kinda like those cars that drive themselves!
And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome!
So relax and show some pride! This is probably all just Google finding new ways to enrich our lives with the selfless volunteering of the Peppers and the ever ongoing creative process of true innovation or perhaps a new lounge bar record of super magnificent proportions and a new pinnacle of human achievement not seen since the sign language guy in South Africa!
God Bless America, the Peppers n’ technology… PN’T!