By Alex Fitzpatrick
February 5, 2014

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been in hot water this week after careful analysis of the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show footage revealed that the band’s instruments weren’t plugged in to anything. Flea, the Peppers’ zany bassist, took to the band’s blog Tuesday evening to explain why they were essentially playing air guitar alongside headliner Bruno Mars.

Flea’s explanation: The NFL didn’t want live instruments as part of the show, lest something go wrong with the audio. Instead, the NFL told the Red Hot Chili Peppers they’d have to pre-record the guitar, bass and drum tracks to play behind live vocals from frontman Anthony Kiedis.

“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,” Flea wrote. “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.”

Here’s Flea’s blog post in full:

Write to Alex Fitzpatrick at alex.fitzpatrick@time.com.

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