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Roger Troutman
  Roger Troutman  
Roger Troutman

Funkster and creative genius, Roger Troutman was born on 29th November 1951 in Hamilton Ohio. Roger was master of the vocoder voice-distortion box, a keyboard synthesiser that created robotic sounding vocals for which he later became renowned. What had previously been used for gimmicky effects, Troutman often used to take along with him to radio interviews, entertaining the listeners with his amazing skills on the instrument. Roger formed a group with his brothers Lester, Larry and Tony and called it the ‘Zapp & Roger Group’ with whom he had success through Warner Brothers & it’s subsidiary label Reprise in the 70’s and the 80’s. The group were greatly influenced by their hometown heroes the Ohio Players as well as other funk groups. Together, they started touring the Midwest and soon expanded the band with backing vocalists, keyboard players and a horn section.


As a solo artist, Roger released his 1st LP in 1976 under the band name ‘Roger and the Human Body’ on his own Troutman Records label. His 1st singles having been released under the name of ‘Little Roger and the Veils’. Zapp hit the Top 20 pop charts in 1980 with their single ‘More Bounce to the Ounce’. In 1981 Roger worked on Funkadelic’s ‘The Electric Spanking of War Babies’ and released his solo debut album ‘The Many Facets of Roger’. Roger’s cover of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ with the distinctive sounds of the vocoder talk box earned the album gold status. Roger’s 2nd solo album was released in 1983 ‘The Saga Continues’ then came his 3rd album ‘Unlimited’. In the mid-80’s Troutman opened a state of the art recording studio in Dayton called ‘Troutman Sound Labs’. Roger continued to produce and play with other artists and it was his voice box which graced Dr. Dre & 2pac’s top ten 1996 single ‘California Love’. Zapp & Rogers’s hits were sampled by an array of Rap and Hip-Hop artists in the 90’s, including Janet Jackson, H-Town, Ice Cube, Ralph Tresvant and Snoop Dogg. As the hits waned for both Troutman and the Zapp & Roger group, the brothers opened a housing business headed by their brother Larry. Unfortunately in the 90’s, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Roger’s life ended tragically on 25th April 1999 aged 47 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, after being shot several times by his brother Larry. Larry later committed suicide by turning the gun on himself. In the year 2000, Thump Records released a tribute to Roger Troutman, which featured Hip-Hop and R&B songs that sampled his work. Although he died in 1999, you can still hear his effects in music today and will do; I’m sure, for many years to come.


Tracey Cope [Just Soul]

The Many Facets of Roger (1981) [Warner Bors / Rhino]

  1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
  2. So Ruff, So Tuff
  3. A Chunk Of Sugar
  4. Do It Roger
  5. Maxx Axe
  6. Blue (A Tribute To The Blues)
  7. I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Part 1) - (Single Version)
  8. Do It Roger - (Single Version)
  9. Superman
The Many Facets of Roger
The Many Facets of Roger
The Saga Continues (1984) [Warner Bros]

  1. In The Mix
  2. Play Your Guitar, Brother Roger
  3. The Break Song
  4. I Keep Trying
  5. Midnight Hour
  6. Bucket Of Blood
  7. T.C. Song
  8. Girl, Cut It Out
The Saga Continues
The Saga Continues
Unlimited! (1987) [Warner Bros / Reprise]

  1. I Want To Be Your Man
  2. Night and Day
  3. Been This Way Before (Rap)
  4. Composition To Commemorate (May 30, 1918)
  5. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag
  6. Thrill Seekers
  7. Tender Moments
  8. If You're Serious
  9. Private Lover
  10. I Really Want To Be Your Man
  11. Bedistgutarist-A-Rown
Bridging The Gap (1991) [Reprise]

  1. Get Up, (Everybody)
  2. Take Me Back
  3. Curiosity
  4. You Should Be Mine
  5. Emotions
  6. Break Through
  7. Love Incorporated
  8. Victim Of Love
  9. Who-La-Boola
  10. Hurry Up
Bridging The Gap
Bridging The Gap
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