Now, I don’t fault him for it, these things are spectacles not rock shows, after all.
And I knew because my brother and I were watching and noticing that his bass wasn’t plugged in.
My brother did kinda mind, since he was a huge RHCP fan back in the 80s before they were big so I guess it’s more of a slap in the face for him. But hey, it gave him a chance to mock the “Luke Warm Chili Peppers,” so there’s that.
Anyway, we also noticed Hedley wasn’t plugged in to anything last fall during the Grey Cup’s halftime show. Including the camera at one point capturing pedal boards neatly laid out with all the pedals, none of which were plugged into each other or anything else.
And since those poor guys were probably getting frostbite in the minus a million conditions in Regina in November, who can blame them either?
No, what I found ludicrous was the fans attacking anyone who dared to say that Flea was faking it and who pointed out that the bass wasn’t plugged in.
Let’s see here, off the top of my head I can think of one chick who announced that it was obviously a wireless set-up. And when I gently told her that no, in a wireless setup you’d still see a cable from the instrument, it would simply be a short one leading to a black box on the player’s belt or on the guitar strap, she got snippy and informed me there was no way that her hero would ever agree to such a thing.
Bullshit. They have to for shows like that.
And then there was another guy when someone else pointed out the same thing who got really cunty and insisted that there are such things as basses and guitars with built-in wireless transmitters so they look like they’re unplugged but they’re totally sending signal for reals, yo.
Bullshit times two. I’ve never heard of such a thing before, though I suppose that there’s always the possibility of there being, somewhere in the world, a prototype of such a thing. Go ask them at Long & McQuade; when they’re done laughing at you and rolling their eyes, they’ll tell you that they’re fresh out as the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy just bought the last ones.
If they existed, and were reliable, and didn’t fuck up the sound of your instrument as carving chunks out of it tends to, everyone would use them. One or two guys who have some weird custom built-in do not make it a general rule, just as you CAN put a MIDI mod into a 1970s analog synthesizer, but that doesn’t mean that all synths from the 70s automatically have them or that it’s a common thing at all.
And in any case, for future reference, here’s what a wireless set-up actually looks like:
Note what I said about a short cable and a black box on the strap [level with Slash’s elbow in case it’s hard to make it out].
Anyway, this article contains a longer statement from Flea, and I kinda like and respect what he says about feeling it was more “real” to not use turned-off wireless boxes to fake it. Makes sense to me: fake it, but be obvious and upfront about the fact that you’re faking it.
Granted, at the time of the Grey Cup, we were both thinking it would be better to have all the cables plugged in to fake it convincingly, but it’s a question of which is more insulting and which is more honest: fake it, but really fake it so it’s clear that you’re faking, or do a better job on the deception by plugging things in to turned-off wireless boxes and connect your pedals to each other? I guess the latter hides the lie better, but then what’s the value in that? I’ve come around to the other view: if you’re gonna fake it, fake it obviously.
But in any case, last word goes to my brother from the half-time show: “Heh heh, appropriate that they’re doing ‘Give It Away Now’… it’s the theme song for the Denver Broncos today!”