Wanna know something? When you search “Frank Zappa on Miami Vice,” You Tube starts showing you some weird-ass shit. Here is a young Mr. Zappa on the Steve Allen Show in 1963, playing music on a bicycle. No, not “playing music while riding a bicycle,” but actually playing music on a bicycle. The way Einstürzende Neubauten would later play music on the side of a bridge, etc. Or the way John Cage played music on prepared piano. Zappa’s is weirder.
I should probably warn you that it’s also excruciatingly boring, as the Steve Allen Show tended to be. Watching variety TV from those days is a little like spending time with an assortment of your dullest friends and some interesting ones who have been drugged into a stupor.
Interestingly, both the announcer and Steve pronounce Frank Zappa’s name “Zoppa,” rhymes with “Papa.”
I guess that in 1963, being of Sicilian descent probably meant you got your name mispronounced all the time. (I’m looking at you, Michael Corleone.)
Perhaps this contributed to the title of Zappa’s legendary unreleased four-disc set for Warner Bros, “Läther” (pronounced “leather”). Yeah… or not.