Zapp & Roger
About Zapp & Roger
The electro-funk band Zapp & Roger, led by frontman Roger Troutman, were known for their innovative use of talk boxes throughout the 1980s. The group’s sound would later become a key ingredient of G-funk hip-hop.
• Roger Troutman started his music career in the 1960s as a solo artist under the name Lil Roger and His Fabulous Vels. In 1976, he teamed with brothers Larry, Lester, and Terry (aka “Zapp”) to form Roger & The Human Body.
• Taking on the name Zapp and playing shows around their native Ohio, Roger and his brothers earned the attention of Parliament-Funkadelic members Bootsy and Catfish Collins, who helped facilitate a deal with Warner Bros. for the band.
• Zapp’s eponymous 1980 debut album was coproduced by Roger Troutman and Bootsy Collins. Led by the single “More Bounce to the Ounce,” the album was certified gold four months after its release.
• As Roger balanced a solo career with the group, Zapp found more success in 1982 with Zapp II, their slickly produced sophomore effort. The single “Dance Floor” became their first (and only) No. 1 R&B single.
• A few more albums followed, and while their style fell out of favor by the end of the decade, they enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the rise of West Coast hip-hop. Zapp tracks were frequently sampled by rap producers, and Roger Troutman was tapped by 2Pac to provide talk-box vocals for his 1995 smash “California Love,” a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
• Zapp’s original run came to a dark end in April 1999, when percussionist Larry Troutman carried out a murder-suicide that took his and his brother Roger’s lives.