Monday, March 26, 2007

Pre-Ring Modulators

For anyone who thought I was joking in a recent post about early synthesizers – here is a clip of Frank Zappa playing a bicycle. It's from a 1963 Steve Allen show. Same year as the original Dr. Who theme. So long ago, so different and yet so plus c'est la même chose.

Here's a still in case you can't be bothered the watch the whole 8 minutes. (Who has the time?)

Here's the clip.

Apart from the bicycle and the strange sight of Frankie-boy without his trademark 'stache, the most interesting thing is how hip Steve Allen appears to have been. He's perfectly capable of holding his own with FVZ, which has to have been a difficult task even when Zappa was small and cute in his stage-domination. I think when I was young, all people Steve Allen's age were considered square. Either I am now square myself (always a possibility but I doubt if it works with the sort of perfect deformability that means yesterday's hipness is today's squareness and vice versa) or, when I was young, I didn't know my ass from my elbow. (Seems more likely.) Maybe they just hid it well to let the young generation go to San Francisco or blow in the wind or whatever the hell it was they wanted, without interference from their meddling elders. Apart from the Vietnam draft thing, where apparently non-interference didn't apply.

Frank Zappa trivia: Most people, including Frank Zappa, thought that his real name was Francis Vincent Zappa. It isn't. It's Frank Vincent Zappa.

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