Unplugged: Flea comes clean on Super Bowl halftime

Written by Scott Mervis on .


fleaAP photo

The first rule of Super Bowl halftime is: you do not talk about Super Bowl halftime. 

Props to Flea for telling it like it is.

In response to questions -- from Living Color's Vernon Reid and Axl Rose, among others -- about the Red Hot Chili Peppers not being plugged in during the Super Bowl halftime, the bassist came clean, detailing what people have long suspected: it's not a legit performance.

Only the vocals were live when the Peppers came on to jam with Bruno Mars on "Give It Away." The rest of the sound was recorded earlier in the week. And that's how it always is, because you can't perfect concert sound in the middle of a football game.

Flea makes a good case for why the Chili Peppers faked it, saying they wouldn't do it normally but "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."

The Chili Peppers are a proven quantity. No one questions whether they can actually play -- same for the Stones, McCartney, The Who, etc. -- so there was no good reason for them to turn down the biggest music showcase in the world.

A few years ago, I asked Nils Lofgren of the E Street Band about playing live at the Super Bowl and he danced around the issue, being a good soldier but kind of copping to it: "Yeah, that's a tough one. I was playing live the whole time. We rehearsed for days and kind of like... regularly ... it's a part of that TV thing. And this is the most extraordinary TV show I ever did. There were like 10 producers, all these huddles with management. As best as I can see, what I played live is what I heard on TV. I can't promise it wasn't something I played two days earlier, but it sure didn't look like it to me. That's one of the nice things about being in a band - I'm not the bandleader, so while all the mangers and people are trying to grab Bruce in a side room and have meetings, I just keep doing what I'm doing unless I'm asked to do something different."

Now, Flea has gone on the record and we can all get past this. The Super Bowl halftime is fixed. If you want live, you have to go to the show and, um, hope that it's all real there.


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Comments on Pitt's football recruiting class ..... List of district recruits

Written by Mike White on .

Pitt's football recruiting class includes a good crop of offensive linemen. But overall, the Panthers' class is viewed as average.

At least that's what guys say who make a living out of rating players and recruiting classes. Pitt coach Paul Chryst signed 22 players today. The class has 23 recruits but Upper St. Clair's Rori Blair is already enrolled at the school for this semester. ranks Pitt's class 43rd in the country while ranked it 42nd. ESPN Recruiting Nation ranks Pitt's class ninth in the ACC.

Sam Werner of the Post-Gazette has a story on Pitt's class.

Mike GrimmThe offensive line recruits include two four-star players from the WPIAL - Mike Grimm of Bethel Park and Alex Bookser of Mt. Lebanon.

But it seems much of the talk concerning this class is the players the Panthers didn't get. Quarterback Wade Freebeck of St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida backed out of his verbal commitment and signed with Vanderbilt. The Panthers also were finalists for a few of the top players in the WPIAL but didn't land them, such as Gateway receiver-defensive back Montae Nicholson (Michigan State), Aliquippa defensive back Dravon Henry (West Virginia) and Washington running back Shai McKenzie (Virginia Tech).

But the Panthers did land seven WPIAL players.

Here are some comments from Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst from

"There is good and bad to this class. The good is they did a good job on the offensive line. That's important to the foundation of an offense. The bad is a few guys got away and you don't want that to happen, especially if their local kids.

"Maybe the media built up expectations too much. I thought McKenzie would go to Pitt and I thought Montae would stay at home as well. When they don't do what myself and even some fans expect, it becomes a disappointment. Is Montae a difference maker? I don't know. On offense I think he is but I'm not sure about defense. McKenzie is a good running back and they could use him. But is he better than Chris James [running back recruit from Illinois]? That's a tossup. But Chris James is not a consolation prize. He is a terrific running back.

"Under Dave Wannstedt they really did a good job in Western Pennsylvania, but he never won the Big East. Can you win the ACC with just Western Pa. kids? Absolutely not. But if there are kids in your back yard and you've got a geographical advantage, you really need to take advantage of it.

"That being said, if I have my choice of getting Montae and Shai McKenzie, or a good offensive line class, I'd take the good offensive line class."

James got a four-star rating from Pitt also got another talented running back in Qadree Ollison of Niagara Falls and a quarterback in Adam Bertke of Maria Stein, Ohio.

Here are some comments from Brian Dohn, national/Northeast recruiting analyst for

"To miss out on Nicholson and Henry were big because I think both are really good players and if you want to win, it starts on defense, and those kids can play in the secondary.

elijah zeise"I'd keep Shai McKenzie out of the loop because I don't know if they really wanted Shai McKenzie. They already had Qadree Ollison and Chris James when Shai was on the board. From Western Pa., I think it was great that they got Bookser and I know Elijah Zeise (pictured) is a nice player. 

"But you want them to lock it down out in the Pittsburgh area. Losing Robert Foster to Alabama [last year] was one thing. But when you lose a kid to Michigan State, one to West Virginia and one to Virginia Tech, that's a little troubling.

"But I really like the running backs in this class and the offensive line is good. I like the depth they have there. And another thing is I think they went for kids with character. I think that was a big point in this class. I think they wanted to concentrate on not only do you have to be a good player, but you also have to be a good kid.

"When you look at the depth of what Paul Chryst and his coaches are doing, they are trusting in their own evaluations, which is big. They evaluate kids and it doesn't matter what other schools are doing or other people are saying about those kids. They're trusting their own evaluations."

WPIAL recruits

Below is a list of Division I-A recruits from the WPIAL. One tidbit first. Sage Curry, a tight end-fullback-linebacker from Beaver Falls, had committed to West Virginia last summer. But he will not sign with WVU. Beaver Falls coach Ryan Matsook said Curry most likely will attend a junior college, possibly Lackawanna in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Now the list:

AKRON - Brock Boxen, Beaver Falls (DL, 6-3 – 260); Chandler Kincade, Blackhawk (QB, 6-4, 210).

BALL STATE – Jake McPhatter, New Castle (RB-DB, 5-11, 170).  

BOWLING GREEN - Andrew Podbielski, Blackhawk (TE-DL,  6-5 – 235).

FLORIDA STATE – J.J. Cosentino, Central Catholic (QB, 6-4, 215).

KENT STATE – Connor Shinsky, Knoch (OL-DL, 6-5, 250).

MASSACHUSETTS – Charan Singh, Franklin Regional (QB-DB, 6-1, 170).

MICHIGAN - Chase Winovich, Thomas Jefferson ( LB,  6-3, 216).

MICHIGAN STATE – Montae Nicholson, Gateway (WR-DB, 6-3, 205).

NAVY – Tory Delmonico, West Allegheny (RB-LB, 6-3, 203).

OHIO STATE - Malik Hooker, New Castle (WR-DB, 6-2, 185).

PENN STATE – Troy Apke, Mt. Lebanon (WR, 6-2, 186). 

PITT - Rori Blair, Upper St. Clair (DE, 6-3, 225); Alex Bookser, Mt. Lebanon (OL, 6-6, 295); Dennis Briggs, Shady Side Academy (RB-DB, 5-11, 195); JaQuan Davidson, Elizabeth Forward (QB-WR-DB, 6-2, 173); Mike Grimm, Bethel Park (OL, 6-6, 325); Quintin Wirginis, Fox Chapel (LB, 6-2, 225); Elijah Zeise, North Allegheny (WR-DB, 6-2, 185).

TEMPLE -  Delvon Randall, Gateway (WR-DB, 6-1, 185); Brenon Thrift, Gateway (LB, 6-3, 230); Lenny Williams, Sto-Rox (QB, 5-11, 197).

TOLEDO – Terry Swanson, Aliquippa (RB-DB, 5-10, 187).

VANDERBILT – Tre Tarpley, Central Catholic (DB, 6-1, 195).

VIRGINIA - Darrious Carter, Indiana (DE, 6-5, 205).

VIRGINIA TECH – Shai McKenzie, Washington (RB, 6-0, 216).

WEST VIRGINIA – Jaleel Fields, Aliquippa (OL-DL, 6-2, 287); Dravon Henry, Aliquippa (RB-DB, 6-2, 187); Ricky Rogers, Gateway (WR, 6-1, 200).

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Sochi surprises: Day 1

Written by Brady McCollough on .

sochi stampBrady's arrival hasn't been as warm & fuzzy as the Sochi mascots, but he'll make do.
In general, I am somebody who sees the positive in situations and people. So I landed in Sochi Tuesday afternoon feeling lucky and fortunate to be a part of another Olympics, even with all of the negative political story lines swirling around these games.
And as I hopped on the nice big bus at the airport that said it was going to take me to the media hotels at the Coastal Cluster, I thought to myself, "Man, it's amazing how the IOC gets this thing figured out and streamlined in time for the games, every time, even in Russia."
Life was good, in this moment in Bradyland. I'd get to my room, take a quick nap, then go for a run on the Black Sea and eat a good meal before doing some work. Yes, what a day it would be.

And then the bus driver did not speak English (it's OK, I'll use my google translate app!). And then he did not know where my hotel, the Maly Akhun, was. And then I showed him exactly where it was on my map. And then he seemed to say he understood. And then before I knew it, we were driving back to the airport.

I'm not going to be the Ugly American. I'm not going to be the Ugly American. It's all good. It's all good.
So we go back to the airport, and the lady who spoke English at the bus stop said she knew where it was, and the driver said he would tell me when to get off the bus this time. As it turned out, the gaffe was really nobody's fault. My press guide had said the hotel was called Maly Akhun, but the guide was probably from a while ago, and now the area of my hotel was called Ekaterininskiy Kvartal. A simple misunderstanding is all it was. I'd only lost an hour of my perfect Sochi day.
Some of the Kvartal buildings seemed rather unfinished for three days before the opening ceremony, but I assumed that the rooms would at least be ready to house the thousands of guests who will stay there. I was told my room was in Building 15, and when I arrived, I noticed that workers were still doing work to the outside. Unfortunately, inside was no different.

My fifth floor room did not have electricity. I showed one of the supervisors, and they moved me across the hall to a bigger room -- hey, an upgrade! -- and this room actually did have working lights.

Unfortunately, it did not have a shower curtain or a door that latches (you have to lock it at all times for it to close) or WiFi. The WiFi is truly all that matters to me. I like writing from my room in peace, not in the gigantic Media Press Centre.

But it was just the first night, and I was exhausted, and so I just went to sleep. It was a cold sleep. I'm pretty sure I didn't have heat. Thank God I was no longer in Magnitogorsk.
So, Sochi has some kinks to work out. The trains, figuratively, are not exactly on time just yet. It is not surprising that the priority was not to have the media hotel rooms just right. But, as you have probably already seen, the media are looking for reasons to be negative about the Russia games and let the world know of any potential embarrassment to Putin. As Deadspin gleefully said, "Staying in Sochi is a hilarious adventure." 

And that really is the only way to look at it. What am I going to do, sulk for three weeks about getting to be in a beautiful part of a foreign country and cover the Olympics? Not this guy. Maybe I will get WiFi at my hotel, maybe I won't. Maybe I will get heat at my hotel, maybe I won't. Maybe I will send water flying everywhere each time I shower, maybe I won't. 

Who cares?

Let the Games begin.



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Changes proposed to federal Endangered Species Act

Written by John Hayes on .

Two bills in the Pennsylvania legislature would change the way the state protects endangered and threatened species. Part of the rational is that the federal Endangered Species Act already protects those species.

The Associated Press reports that a movement is underway in Congress to change the landmark federal act.

Click here for that story.


Venison butchering guide

Click here for an illustrated deer meat guide from Wide Open Spaces.





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The ice garden is beautiful, but just let it be

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog ice covered bud

As photographer I can't resist shooting the garden covered in ice. It only happens once or twice during the winter. The coated plants are beautiful. Gardeners worry though when their treasured shrubs and trees bend close to the ground under the weight of the ice. Just leave them alone and wait for a thaw, you could do more damage by trying to get free the branches from winter's grip. The plants have experienced this before and will stand straight again.

Sit back, dream of spring and enjoy the unique spectacle provided by a garden of ice.

blog ice rhodie leaf

blog ice britt

blog ice pieris

blog ice bath

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