Unplugged Chili Peppers: Where Is The Outrage??

So the Interwebs are all-a-flutter….

RHCP @ SB LXVIII: plugs and cables optional

RHCP @ SB LXVIII: plugs and cables optional

..because the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t bother to plug in their guitars when they busted up Bruno Mars half-time show with their totally self-serving and incongruous shriek-rap whateverthefuck that was – which obvious fact the band has ‘fessed up to on their website.

I could frankly care less whether the RHCP played to a track or not. The whole thing is a spectacle, light-years detached from anything of serious musical consequence, so who really cares how it’s staged? If playing to track in a situation like that raises the likelihood that the spectacle will come off without a hitch, fine, whatever.

What surprises me to learn is that neither the Flaming Peppers nor the featured performer whose otherwise enjoyable act they disrupted – that would be Bruno Mars – were paid for their performance.

What with all the controversy in the world over how little the “content creators” get paid these days via streaming media, etc., you would think that a live performance before the largest mass-media event of the year would have the means to provide some form of compensation.

I mean, c’mon, NFL, this is the fucking Super Bowl. It generates billions of dollars of revenue for your league and the network that broadcasts it. And you can’t find even a few errant sheckels in that haul to pay the musicians???

What sort of example does that set for the rest of a world that always wants musicians to believe that they should play “for the exposure.” What fucking good is “exposure” if you’re booked to play in front of the largest audience ever assembled and you still can’t get paid??

I guess the reasoning here is that the “exposure” will result in a substantially enlarged fan base. Millions more people will suddenly be enticed into the Pepper Nation, will purchase downloads of their music or tickets for their shows (not so much t-shirts, since this particular band performs shirtless….).

By that reasoning it seems fair to ask: Do the players on the field play their Big Game “for the exposure”? Of course not, even though their performance in the event could have all kinds of fringe benefits in the form of commercial endorsements, speaking gigs, book deals, etc. But even the roster of the losing team got paid almost $50K for just for showing up (or, in the case of the Denver Broncos, pretending to).

I actually enjoyed seeing Bruno Mars, who I know more than a tiny bit about because one of my guitar students at the W.O. Smith School asked me to teach her a couple of his songs. They’re tasty enough pop confections. And judging by his opening drum solo, it would appear that Bruno has got some honest-to-god chops; it was comforting to see that this burgeoning pop-star is more than a contrived teen-idol.

I just think that anybody who plays in front of an audience that large, at event that generates that revenue, should get some share of the cash flow.

Because exposure really isn’t worth a lick if all it gets you is more exposure.