22-Year-Old Frank Zappa Teaches How to Play the Bicycle (Video)

DRMUX/Video screen capture

Here at TreeHugger, we don't just love riding bicycles, we love talking about them, writing about them, and touting them as a healthier mode of travel for commuters and the planet, too. But perhaps one use for bikes that we never really stopped to consider was bike as a musical instrument -- and if there's anyone to prove it can be done, it's famed experimental rocker Frank Zappa. In this 1963 clip from the Steve Allen Show, a young Zappa demonstrates the range of sounds that can be produced from the world's most efficient transportation machine.

(Music begins in the third clip.)

Sure, the word 'music' may be generously applied to the sounds Frank Zappa is producing in the video above, but it's not such a departure from the avante garde stylings of the day -- and it's definitely a great example of the creative repurposing of a bicycle.

Although the audience and host were clearly bemused by then 22-year-old Zappa's bike-playing performance, this might actually be one of the earliest televised example of music made by using ordinary or unexpected objects -- as groups like Stomp have popularized more recently.

The forward-thinking composer might have been making the point that anything can be an instrument, even a bike. But one could derive another lesson from young Zappa mind-broadening message that is wholly applicable even today, nearly 50 years later: If a bike can replace a drum set, then it can certainly replace a car.

And, if you're a musician, just imagine how easy it could be getting those Zappa-inspired drums to your next gig.

Via Book of Joe

Tags: Bikes | Celebrities | Multi-Purpose Objects | Music

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