“How long have you been playing bike, Frank?”

The motoring media has been lovingly reporting on the Car Music Project, a band that plays music on instruments made from car parts. Composer Bill Milbrodt’s musical instruments can now be seen on TV ads for Ford. Milbrodt has been likened to the late great Frank Zappa.



But where Milbrodt plays car, Zappa played bike.

Zappa was way ahead of his time. His first TV appearance – sans his famous facial hair – was in 1963 on the iconic US chatshow The Steve Allen Show. Zappa was given 20 minutes of primetime to play two bicycles, much to the amusement of Allen and the studio audience.





ZAPPA: I believe that a lot of people have actually played bicycles from time to time. When they’re young they take a piece of cardboard and a clothes pin, attach it to the rear wheel and when it goes around it makes that noise and you’re playing a bicycle.

ALLEN: How long have you been playing bike, Frank?

ZAPPA: About two weeks.

ZAPPA: It’s similar to the effect of the uh, cardboard and the clothespin.

ALLEN: Like the uh, steel drums of Jamaica and uh, Trinidad . . .

ZAPPA: And you can also bang on the frame, and if you’re lucky enough to have a bicycle that has a squeaking seat, you can squeak the seat.