Weighing in on the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS performance at the Super Bowl

Photo by Clara Balzary

Photo by Clara Balzary

Having been a RHCP fan since their inception in the early 80’s this topic has my attention. I have found the Red Hot Chili Peppers to be an evolutionary band, constantly evolving and never becoming stale or stagnant. I have also  been fortunate to have seen them live on several occasions. Their live performances are always top notch and high energy. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have never compromised who they are and what they represent, always making the music they wanted to make and having the image that they themselves were most comfortable with.

While the band itself has varied in members at times, they have never let it set them back, delivering poignant music time and again. They have never hid  who they were  even to the point of publicly talking about their personal situations.

Their Super Bowl performance has been called into question regarding the “prerecorded” music and “mimed” stage antics. Flea responded with an open letter regarding it yesterday ( https://thehellionrocks.com/2014/02/04/a-message-from-flea-regarding-the-red-hot-chili-peppers-super-bowl-performance/) and I applaud him for that.

We all know of “live” performance disasters and I don’t think this was one. I think the Red Hot Chili Peppers made the best of the situation and delivered a high energy “show”. If you doubt them go see them live, you’ll see.

Bruno Mars? Well, that’s a different story….

 

it’s loud, it’s funky, it’s the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS!

the Hellion Rocks

A Message from FLEA regarding the Red Hot Chili Peppers Super Bowl performance

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From http://redhotchilipeppers.com:

A Message From Flea

Dear everybody,

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. 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.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it. The last time we did it (or tried to) was in the late 80’s, we were thrown off of ‘The Top Of the Pops’ television program in the U.K. during rehearsals because we refused to mime properly, I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony’s shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage, making a mockery of the idea that it was a real live performance.

We mimed on one or two weird MTV shows before that and it always was a drag. We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.

We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.

For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.

I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.

We, as a band, aspire to grow as musicians and songwriters, and to continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.

Sincerely,

Flea

Photo by Clara Balzary

Photo by Clara Balzary

 

Great live band, I have seen them several times. Thanks Flea!

the Hellion

 

WHEN A BAND CHANGES DIRECTION (OR DOESN’T)

How many times have you heard “This band sold out” or “That band went mainstream”? I have heard this about several bands throughout the years. Let;s take a look at several bands that have “changed direction” , or have stayed the same and if that has worked for them.

     QUEEN 1971 – 1991 the Freddie Mercury years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen remains one of my favorite bands of all times. The band was constantly evolving and changing throughout their career. They explored many styles of music during their recording career. They were never afraid to branch out and explore their creativity. Here are two songs that show their diversity. The world lost a beautiful soul when Freddie Mercury passed away in 1991, we will forever miss and love you Freddie, thank you for your music. Queen pulled off, to great success, changing directions.

“Keep Yourself Alive” from QUEEN – 1973

“These Are The Days Of Our Lives” from INNUENDO – 1991

MEGADETH 1983 to present

Megadeth is a band who has stayed true to their original vision. Their style of speed/thrash metal has pretty much been a constant throughout their career. While some will say it has hurt their career, their fans remain loyal, and their record sales constant. I say cheers to Dave and crew (though they have changed over the years) keep it going! Staying true to their direction has worked for Megadeth.

“Peace Sells” from Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying? – 1986

“Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” from Th1rt3en – 2011

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS 1983 to present

This band has always been in a special place in my heart. Never afraid to be who they are, always giving their all to their fans. Their members and styles have changed throughout the years but they have always managed to pull it off. Playing what they want to and disregarding the critics their music reflects the colorful personalities that infuse this band. Many people have tried to pigeonhole this band to a certain genre, to no avail. I call them a Rock N’ Roll band PERIOD. Thank you RHCP, you have given my soul much joy. Keep growing and evolving and stay true to your passions.

“True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes” from The Red Hot Chili Peppers – 1984

“The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie” – from I’m With You – 2011

METALLICA – 1981 to present

Ahhh Metallica, the source of great contention amongst metal heads. Some say they sold out with the “Black” album, some say they didn’t. I think they have made some questionable choices in the past years, but they remain strong as one of the driving forces in metal music. As part of being human we are constantly changing and growing (well, some of us do) as the events surrounding us dictate. The guys in Metallica are not immune. Growing older, gaining families, becoming financially stable HAS to affect them, and their music. I, for one, appreciate that fact and despite their making some music that does not always appeal to me I stand by this band and remain a fan. R.I.P. Cliff Burton, miss you!

“No Remorse” from Kill ‘Em All – 1983

“All Nightmare Long” from Death Magnetic – 2008

GUNS N’ ROSES 1985 to present???

GNR WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!? They were poised to take over the world and instead they burned it down. The energy of the the five original members was the perfect combination. Then the backup singers, the keyboard players, the horn section, etc… etc… sigh. I know this band has been the topic of great controversy, and probably will remain so for a long, long time. I will always remain in love with early GNR and the music they made and I am grateful for that, post original five, not so much. I personally believe the direction that the band took killed them (this is my humble opinion). Oh well we have our memories…. if we could only find our way back to the jungle.

“Welcome To The Jungle” from Appetite For Destruction – 1987

“This I Love” from Chinese Democracy – 2008

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY 1998 to present

Ahhh BLS, now here’s a band that I totally get. Members have come and gone and yet this band gets stronger and stronger. Great music year after year, record after record and a loyal fan base that unifies together as one big BLS family. Zakk Wylde never shies away from playing whatever he wants, piano based ballads, acoustic songs, full out electric, it matters not to Zakk. With BLS it never grows stagnant and you will never be bored! GI/FD!!!

“Born To Lose” from Sonic Brew – 1999

“Overlord” from Order Of The Black – 2010

These are just my opinions on bands that have (or have not) changed direction, please feel free to comment or message me with your ideas or thoughts and I will post them here.

the Hellion

Dream band lineups

 

One of the questions I see the most is “What would your dream band lineup alive or dead be?” I have pondered this question many times and I come up with different answers each time. So I decided to  write about it and come up with three bands. One with band members who are no longer with us, one with all living band members, and comprised with both. I will try to give reasons why and even try to give my fantasy bands an appropriate name.

From the other side,

SOPHISTICATED HOOLIGANS:

Bon Scott, AC/DC (deceased 19 February 1980) – vocals

Dimebag Darrell, Pantera/Damageplan/Rebel Meets Rebel  (deceased December 8, 2004) – guitars

Randy Castillo, Lita Ford/Ozzy/Motley Crue  (deceased  March 26, 2002) – drums

John Entwistle, The Who (deceased  27 June 2002) – bass

I can only imagine what a jam session with these guys would sound like. I hope that they are hanging out on the other side. I think the combination of these “gentlemen” would make for a unique sound. I chose the name “Sophisticated Hooligans” for them because the oxymoron just suits the attitude I imagine they would have.

Still with us,

COSMIC DESTRUCTION:

Sebastian Bach, Skid Row/Solo – vocals

Zakk Wylde, Ozzy/Pride & Glory/Black Label Society – guitars

Justin Manning, Crowned By Fire – guitars

Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath – bass

Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater/Adrenaline Mob/Flying colors – drums

I shudder to think of the destructive power this band would have, hence the name “Cosmic Destruction”. There would have to be a warning label on the CDs and at the live performances. All of these players have that explosive power that would give this band the ability to crush your chest and have you thank them for it.

 

Some still with us and some not

RETROGRADE:

Paul Rodgers, Free/Bad Company – vocals

Randy Rhoads, Quiet Riot/Ozzy (deceased  March 19, 1982) – guitars

Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers – bass

John Bonham. Led Zeppelin (deceased  25 September 1980) – drums

The mixture of Paul Rodgers beautiful voice combined with Randy Rhoads melodic playing style would compliment each other so well. Combine that with Flea holding down the bottom end and John Bonham keeping the beat and WOW! I know this lineup seems kind of weird but I think it could work. As for calling the band “Retrograde”, I think it just sounds cool.

 

There you have it those are just my thoughts, please share yours!!!

the Hellion