Studio Tan

Studio Tan

Infobox Album |
Name = Studio Tan
Type = Album
Artist = Frank Zappa

Released = September 15, 1978
Recorded = 1969, 1974 1976
Genre = Experimental rock, jazz fusion, hard rock, progressive rock
Length = 39:18
Label = DiscReet Records
Producer = Frank Zappa
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|3|5 [ link]
Last album = "Zappa in New York"
This album = "Studio Tan"
Next album = "Sleep Dirt"

"Studio Tan" is an album by Frank Zappa, first released in September, 1978 on his own DiscReet Records label.


In early 1976 Zappa's relationship with manager and business partner Herb Cohen ended in litigation. Zappa and Cohen's company DiscReet Records was distributed by Warner Bros. When Zappa asked for a re-assignment of his contract from DiscReet to Warner in order to advance the possibility of being able to do special projects without Cohen's involvement, Warner Bros. briefly agreed. This led to the 1976 release of "Zoot Allures" on Warner. At this point Zappa was contractually bound to deliver 4 more albums to DiscReet and Warner.

Early in 1977 Zappa claimed he delivered master tape copies of 4 individual LP's to Warner Bros. (see [] ) This would have fulfilled all of Zappa's final obligations to DiscReet and Warner and freed him to move to another distributor for his next release. "Zappa In New York" (a 2LP set) was delivered first complete with Zappa approved artwork, followed closely by "Studio Tan", "Sleep Dirt", "Orchestral Favorites" for which Zappa supplied tapes only. Believing that the material was sub-standard, Warner refused to pay Zappa for his production costs upon delivery of the 4 albums (5 discs) according to their contract.

Due to Warner's breach of contract Zappa decided later in 1977 that he was contractually free to reconfigure the material on the 5 discs into a single 4LP set called "Läther". Though both collections contained unique material the 4 disc set was trimmed down from the original 5 disc configuration, not the other way around as has been commonly claimed. While Gail Zappa claims "Läther" was always conceived as a 4 disc set", she was apparently unaware that all the material on the original 5 disc configuration was already recorded between 1971 and 1976, and completed a year before "Läther". "Zappa In New York" was completed and released in 1977. It was later censored and re-sequenced by Warner without Zappa's authorization in 1978.

Despite the official story written much later in 1996 there is no evidence that Zappa ever delivered tapes for "Läther" to Warner. Nor would a single 4LP set have fulfilled the requirements of the Zappa/Warner contract as the 4 disc box would have counted as a one release. (see [] ) Zappa created each of the 4 original albums with a unique and consistent musical style of its own. For "Läther" the individual styles were completely mixed up and the songs were linked with new musical and dialog segments. Trying to create the original 5 disc configuration out of the 4 disc "Läther" compilation would have been like trying to turn an omelette back into eggs. (see [] )

Zappa then attempted to get a distribution deal with Mercury/Phonogram to release "Läther" on the new Zappa Records label. This led Warner Bros. to threaten legal action, preventing the release of the "Läther" compilation. In 1978 and 1979 Warner finally decided to release the 3 remaining individual albums they still held, "Studio Tan", "Sleep Dirt", and "Orchestra Favorites." As Zappa had delivered the tapes only, the three individual albums were released with no musical credits. (see [] ) Warner commissioned their own sleeve art by Gary Panter, which was not approved by Zappa.

When this material was first issued on CD Zappa made the decision to re-issue the individual albums, thus strengthening the argument that this was his original artistic intention. The material on the album was made available to the public again when "Läther" was finally officially released to the public in 1996 after Zappa's death.

Of the four albums that comprise "Läther", "Studio Tan" is the only one of the individual albums to be represented in its near entirety. It is also the only one that could have been possibly taken from the "Läther" tapes. The only clear differences are that "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary" is presented in a slightly different mix on "Studio Tan" and that the ending of the song had been shortened on the original vinyl release on DiscReet.

An excerpt from an unreleased alternate version of "Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra" appears on the 1987 compilation "The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa", with drum overdubs by Chad Wackerman.

Track listing

All compositions by Frank Zappa.

ide one

#"The Adventures of Greggery Peccary" – 20:40

ide two

#"Lemme Take You to the Beach" – 2:44
#"Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra" – 7:36
#"RDNZL" – 8:12


*Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals, percussion
*George Dukekeyboards
*John Berkman – piano
*Michael Zearott – conductor
*Pamela Goldsmith – viola
*Murray Adler – violin
*Sheldon Sanov – violin
*Jerry Kessler – cello
*Edward Meares – bass guitar
*Bruce Fowlertrombone
*Don Waldrop – trombone
*Jock Ellis – trombone
*Dana Hughes – bass trombone
*Earle Dumler – oboe
*JoAnn Caldwell – McNab bassoon
*Mike Altschul – flute
*Graham Young – trumpet
*Jay Daversa – trumpet
*Malcolm McNab – trumpet
*Ray Reed – flute
*Victor Morosco – saxophone
*John Rotella – woodwind instruments
*Alan Estes – percussion
*Emil Richards – percussion
*Tom Fowler – bass guitar
*Chester Thompsondrums
*Davey Moire – vocals
*Eddie Jobson – keyboards, yodeling
*Max Bennett – bass guitar
*Paul Humphrey – drums
*Don Brewerbongos
*James "Bird Legs" Youmans – bass guitar
*Ruth Underwood – percussion, synthesizer


Album - "Billboard" (North America)


External links

* [ "FZ vs. Warner Bros. Story"]
* [ "Biffy the Elephant Shrew looks at Läther"]
* [ Album release information]

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