Category Archives: zappa



Mission statement


Before we weigh that anchor, I reckon it might be a good idea to let you know where we’re going, and how we plan to get there. Therefore, I present to you, the PARTS UNKNOWN MISSION STATEMENT:

Parts Unknown is a blog and podcast devoted to unique and unusual music. This includes (but is not limited to) unusual performances, uncommon theory and method, and even unusual instruments (or ‘usual’ instruments played in unusual ways).

Both the blog and podcast will be updated on a completely random, diabolical schedule. Any attempts to discern a pattern in the updating schedule may result in mental fatigue and possibly madness. Management will not be held responsible.

Because of the way things are nowadays, great caution will be taken when referencing music that is the property of the Big Nasty Music People (hereafter BNMP), to ensure that they are not given the opportunity to wreck any individual’s income and/or future. This should not be too difficult, as most (if not all) music owned by the BNMP is far from ‘unusual,’ anyway. Still, better safe than sorry.

When possible, all posts to Parts Unknown will be safe for work, and safe for the family. When not possible, sufficient warning will be given. There will be no drills.

If you know of some unusual music that should be explored, let me know about it! Drop me an email at

I think that just about does it!

For the first post to the ‘new’ blog, I wanted to link to a video of one of my favorite things ever – which, many of you have likely guessed, is Frank Zappa’s 1963 appearance on the Steve Allen show, where he taught Steve how to play the bicycle on live television.

Sadly, that performance is hard to come by. YouTube has pulled it, and the only other version of it I can find is this one on a site called DevilDucky – it freezes after a couple of minutes, however, and I’m not sure if it’s a problem with my connection or the site itself.

It’s a pity that this classic performance isn’t more readily available. But you can see some still pictures from it, read a transcript, and enjoy an article by Jerry Hopkins, where he tells the story of booking Zappa on the show as one of their “kook” acts, then discusses the idea of making music with “ordinary objects.”

If any of you intrepid explorers can find a more reliable copy of that video, please let me know!