The Red Hot Chili Peppers weren't playing their instruments when they joined Bruno Mars for a Super Bowl halftime show watched by a record 115 million people, bassist Flea confirmed after photos surfaced on Vulture of him onstage with an unplugged guitar. In an open letter, he explains that the band has always been firmly against miming, but the NFL made it clear that the "vocals would be live, but the bass, drums and guitar would be pre-recorded"—and there was no room for negotiation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"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 TV viewers," Flea writes. The band gave it a lot of thought and "eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a lifetime crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it," he writes, promising that in future, the band will "continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out." (More Super Bowl stories.)