So when the two acts got together for a record-setting Super Bowl halftime performance on Sunday you knew the combination of Mars' throw-back pop soul and the Peppers' manic punk energy were going to blow the roof off MetLife Stadium. And they did.
Only some astute observers noticed something weird during the bit where Mars joined the Peps for their hit "Give it Away" midway through the set: bassist Flea and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer didn't appear to be plugged into any amps. We're used to lip synching controversies during the National Anthem before the game, but a rock band faking it?
"No trickery. No choice, but no trickery," Flea wrote on Monday after conspiracy theories began to spread about the bands' lack of guitar cords or wireless systems to amplify their sound.
Flea's tweet-mission reportedly came after a fan called him out. "@flea333 Please tell me there is no cable bc you wanted us to know the music was tracked!" said Craig Helmreich.
No trickery. No choice, but no trickery— Flea (@flea333) February 4, 2014
It is not unheard of for singers to pre-track their vocals while singing at big events to account for any possible technical or weather-related issues. But it remains unclear why the Peppers would have mimed their guitar and bass parts when Mars' band appeared to have played their parts live.
@flea333 Please tell me there is no cable bc you wanted us to know the music was tracked! You're not really faking if everyone is in on it.— Craig Helmreich (@cjhelmreich) February 4, 2014
Flea's tweet suggests that the circumstances forced the band to pantomime, but at press time spokespeople for the Chili Peppers and the NFL could not be reached for comment or to clarify what went on.
The Fansided blog helped break the story earlier in the day, posting images of Flea plucking his bass amid no evidence that his instrument was plugged into anything.
Guitarist Joe Bonamassa weighed into the controversy, writing, "Flea, I mean we all know, but for god's sake at least try to humor the children. #unpluggedlive."