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Frank Zappa Made Electronic Music with a Bicycle on Live TV in 1963

It was a variety show then, now it is something closer to performance art.

by Brian Merchant
Jul 16 2013, 3:00pm

In 1963, Frank Zappa showed a live television audience how to play a bicycle. He did so mostly for the benefit of Steve Allen, who yuks it up in high old-timey yukster fashion. Just without the rimshot. Poor earnest Frank Zappa, still pursuing a career in classical composition, the butt of all those rimshot-less jokes. The music starts at 1:45. 

There's a recorded backdrop and radio samples. It's avant-electronica, circa the early sixties. 

Another revelation: Found sound music collages have progressed little in 50 years. Frank Zappa would go on to record maximalist classics like Apostrophe (') and much acid caterpillar guitar music and grow a mustache to rival the all-time great rock mustaches, eclipsed perhaps only be Freddie Mercury.