The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets faced off at the Crypto.com Arena in LA on Sunday (April 3), and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea was in attendance to deliver the national anthem prior to the game.
Now, it's Flea, so we expected some kind of funky, out-of-the-box treatment, but nothing could have prepared us for quite how hard he goes with it.
Armed with a purple-finished custom Fender Jazz bass guitar – appropriately adorned with a massive Los Angeles Lakers body decal – the RHCP man kicks off The Star-Spangled Banner's first few bars with a relatively untouched bass signal, before stepping on a fuzz pedal and letting loose with some show-stopping embellishments inspired, as he explained on Twitter, by jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.
I told Kareem I would do that Charlie Parker riff in the second stanza (after I step on the fuzz pedal) https://t.co/w5csph2dypApril 4, 2022
His performance is injected with a smattering of crunchy double stops and chunky open low-string clangs, all while engaging in a spot of headbanging. Check it out below.
Flea's performance also offers a glimpse of his new Ampeg-powered bass rig. Previously a Gallien-Krueger loyalist, the Chili Peppers man recently revealed to Bass Player that he had made the switch prior to the recording of the band's new album, Unlimited Love.
He did, however, caveat his decision behind the switch, saying gear “doesn't fucking matter” as long as “you're bringing your heart and your fingers”.
Flea's Ampeg rig can also be spotted during the Red Hot Chili Peppers' first shows with John Frusciante since 2007, in two separate TV appearances on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live! and a secret show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.
This isn't the first time Flea has performed the national anthem at a Lakers game. Back in 2016, he played another bass-only rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before the team faced the Utah Jazz in what was basketball legend Kobe Bryant's final professional game.
His unusual performance was met with criticism from some basketball fans, though he told TMZ in response: “I know that people who like music liked it. I thought it was beautiful. I really don't have any concern for little small minds that get frustrated when they get blown. I like the big minds.”