After several days of Internet grousing about whether the Red Hot Chili Peppers actually played live during the Super Bowl halftime show—which, of course they didn’t, as even Springsteen didn’t play live—Flea has responded to the sort-of-controversy. In a post on the band's website, the bassist says that, though the group has taken a hardline stance on miming live performances since the late '80s, its members decided to do the Super Bowl gig because,“it was a surreal-like, once in a lifetime crazy thing to do.” The band recorded a new live version of “Give It Away” for the event, and frontman Anthony Kiedis did sing live, something that Flea said the group thought “could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance.” Flea also likened it to “making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals” and says the group will “continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.”
Never one to be left out of a controversy—especially one he has absolutely nothing to do with—Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose also weighed in with an article he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter. Rose said that he “enjoyed the show” and thinks it’s “important to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of the doubt,” and therefore he suggests that perhaps “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.”
Rose went on to deem this technology “Google Ass,” call the group “ASS-tro-nots,” and add that, if the group didn't actually play live, that at least Kiedis “may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever.” Rose also compared the band to “the sign language guy in South Africa”—which seems a bit harsh, but that’s Axl Rose.