ce n'est pas une bicyclette
June 26, 2006 6:58 PM   Subscribe

In 1963, a full 3 years before his first MoI recording, a young, beardless Zappa appeared live on the Steve Allen show playing a musical composition on bicycles. Jerry Hopkins, the show's talent coordinator, discusses how the young musician's debut performance came about. Hardcore zappaphiles can view Part 1, Part 2 (Danger: long & grainy B&W YouTube clips, diamonds in the rough).
posted by madamjujujive (24 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by rxrfrx at 7:09 PM on June 26, 2006

OMFG. We can jam in Joe's Garage, indeed.

Thank you for this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:11 PM on June 26, 2006

Another damn YouTube video!

Excellent find.
posted by absalom at 7:19 PM on June 26, 2006

That's wonderful. A lot of people probably don't know that Zappa's first love was always "New Music".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:20 PM on June 26, 2006

Tube Shot!

that was great, thank you madam.
posted by caddis at 7:21 PM on June 26, 2006

I'm listening to Zappa right now. Your taste and timing are exquisite madamjujujive. As usual.

Also, folks like me who never had the pleasure of live Zappa should go check out Zappa plays Zappa. The show at the Beacon theater a few weeks ago was really quite good, which I found surprising. Just realized that the last show was this last weekend. I'm late with my plug. What a shame. You should have seen it.
posted by kosem at 7:22 PM on June 26, 2006

Later, with the help of Mike Nesmith, he was to graduate from the bicycle to bigger things.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:33 PM on June 26, 2006

Thank you for these links.
Oh, thank you.

Zappa, we hardly knew ye.
posted by ArsncHeart at 7:37 PM on June 26, 2006

Sweet! Susie, Yes.
posted by tellurian at 7:47 PM on June 26, 2006

Zappa was and is one of the greats. My god, I must have 30 cd's of his music, and I have barely scratched the surface. Also, I should note there's scarcely a dud amongst the lot. Some albums were better than others, but Zappa was never, ever boring.

Thank you SO much for this post! I've heard about this appearance, and it was great to finally see it!
posted by newfers at 8:03 PM on June 26, 2006

Damn, MJJJ, this is cool beyonds words. Gracias!
posted by snsranch at 8:55 PM on June 26, 2006

Wow, first a Peter Pan porno by Alan Moore and now this. What a lovely day!

I'm gonna go listen to a live version of "Billy the Mountain" now. Thanks.
posted by elr at 9:30 PM on June 26, 2006

That was pretty nice to watch, thanks madame!
posted by fenriq at 9:58 PM on June 26, 2006

Yummy Thanks.

At the Moogfest in NYC last week, the School of Rock did a pair of Zappa covers. It was beyond great.
posted by dbiedny at 9:59 PM on June 26, 2006

That is an amazing video Madamjujujive. What cojones Zappa had and visionary mischief.

Frank was very Dada, in spite of being a Mother.

For my 13th birthday I got the Freak Out album. Certainly wasn't Donovan. I was disappointed at first and then flattered because it was really interesting, complex and daring in ways I never heard anybody's music be at that time.

Transcript of Zappa testimony before Congress (1985) regarding contents of music and the lyrics of records.

Frank Zappa Conehead, Alien Orifice. Zappa Internet Jam Sessions. 200 Motels trailer.

Great info on good ole Wikipedia about Frank.
posted by nickyskye at 10:00 PM on June 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

I too have about 30 Zappa cds and they are all pretty good. The thing that was most amazing about him was his range. There is an album for every mood. This was very cool to watch. Amazing that TV at the time would take a chance on this sort of thing. Can anyone imagine them doing that today? I don't think so.
posted by sirvesa at 10:26 PM on June 26, 2006

That was incredible! Thank you, Madamjujujive!
posted by puke & cry at 10:55 PM on June 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

Great stuff, and thanks for the further links nickyskye.

Further adds to my inchoate theory that there was nothing radical about the late sixties, other than what they built upon thanks to achievements in American culture in the 1950's and early 1960's. Just looking so put together in that suit and proceeding to do something Fluxus-like on national TV--that's art.
posted by bardic at 11:15 PM on June 26, 2006

Great links! Loved the Mike Nesmith and Zappa video too!

Since nickyskye mentioned Conehead, how about Zappa with the Coneheads? sorry for the nosebleed video (let's all bless youtube & google in the meantime)
posted by spacelux at 12:14 AM on June 27, 2006

Frank mentions writing the score for Timothy Carey's Worlds Greatest Sinner.Not to mention the talking asshole and our own growabrain
posted by hortense at 1:03 AM on June 27, 2006

I would have voted for him for POTUS after reading his book. It's great. Frank was great on so many levels. Frank's priceless, erudite 1986 appearance on Crossfire (where he owns Robert Novak and that other republican blowhard) has been posted here before.

Here's the appearance at the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings to modify the existing state pornography statute so as to include records, tapes and CDs, which was defeated in no small part, me thinks, because of Zappa's efforts. '86 was a busy year for Frank.
posted by wsg at 1:47 AM on June 27, 2006

that's pretty funny.

Too bad I can't take Zappa.

There's a great bike group called the Portland Bicycle Ensemble that has taken these ideas to a pretty impressive extent; all the players are active instrumental improvisers as well, so they have very "musical" sensibilities. They ride the bikes to gigs with the amps in bike trailers. Love those guys.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:24 AM on June 27, 2006

Most excellent links in thread, many thanks to all for creating a very rich and fun thread. I wonder how I have missed growabrain's stellar Zappa treasure trove until now??? I am going to have to tuck that away for tonight if I want to get any work done today.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:41 AM on June 27, 2006

madamjujujive, dude, thanks a lot!
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 AM on June 27, 2006

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