Origin Dayton, Ohio,
Genre(s) Soul, funk, Electro-funk
Years active 1978 – present
Label(s) Warner Bros. (1979 - present)
Zapp Town Records (2002 - present)
Zapp (also known as the Zapp Band or Zapp and Roger) is a soul and funk band formed in 1978
by brothers Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Lester Troutman, Tony Troutman and Terry
"Zapp" Troutman. Known for hits such as "More Bounce to the Ounce", "Dance Floor, Part 1"
and "Computer Love", the group was a partial source of inspiration to West Coast hip-hop and G-
funk, which came out of the hand clapped-drum beat styled funk of Zapp's records with Roger's
impressive use of the talk box becoming another reason for the group's impact and its success.
Early career and rise to fame
The nucleus of Zapp circled around three of the five Troutman brothers: Lester, Larry and their
younger brother Roger. The duo of Lester and Roger started several groups including Little Roger
and the Vels. Larry eventually joined his brothers when their name became Roger and the Human
Body, which also included youngest brother Terry. Larry was then the road manager and the
leader of the group in terms of all major decisions and connections.
The name change to Zapp came courtesy of Terry, whose nickname was that of "Zapp".
Discovered by members of P-Funk in 1979, the funk collective's leader George Clinton signed
them to his Uncle Jam Records. When that label folded the following year, the group signed with
P-Funk's parent label, Warner Bros.
Records, and began working on their first record at united sound in Detroit album courtesy of co-
production from Bootsy Collins.
Released in the late summer of 1980, Zapp's seminal self-titled debut album became a platinum
success peaking at the top twenty of the Billboard Top 200 thanks to the success of their leading
single, the Roger composition, "More Bounce to the Ounce", which reached number two on the
Hot Soul Singles chart.
Zapp's trek to fame continued within the Troutmans, who started Troutman Enterprises shortly
after the Zapp album was released. Roger, who was the leader of the group and most famous for
using the talk box in his recordings, was also the band's producer, chief writer, arranger, and
composer. He and older brother Larry, who served as percussionist in the band's early years and
later retired from music to serve as his younger brother's manager, often collaborated on songs
together. Roger and Zapp worked on both group albums and albums Roger released on his own
merit. Within five years, the band scored more top ten R&B hits such as "Doo Wa Ditty", "I Can
Make You Dance", "Heartbreaker", and ballads such as "Computer Love (R&B #8)" and a cover
of The Miracles' "Ooo Baby Baby". Among the songs, only one of them - 1982's "Dance Floor,
Part 1" - managed to hit number-one on the R&B chart while two of Roger's solo numbers - a
cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "I Want to Be Your Man" - hit
the top spot of that chart. By 1985's New Zapp IV U, the group had scored over four gold records
and had become a top concert draw all around the world.
Decline and career resurgence
By the release of Roger's solo album, 1991's Bridging the Gap, success had mostly dwindled for
the group though their records were now being sampled constantly by hip-hop acts. The first of
which, EPMD's "You Gots to Chill" famously sampled "More Bounce..." In 1993, Zapp scored
their biggest-selling album with the 2X platinum All the Greatest Hits, which included a top forty
R&B hit with "Mega Medley" mixing the band's greatest hits and a top twenty R&B hit "Slow
and Easy" (R&B #18). By 1996, Roger Troutman had regained success after he added his
trademark talk box for 2Pac's comeback hit, "California Love". Roger was also featured in the
remix to Sounds of Blackness' 1998 hit, "Hold On (A Change Is Coming)", which sampled "Doo
Wa Ditty". Through it all, Zapp continued to find massive success as a concert draw, made due to
the large part of Roger's leadership and gifted talents as a live performer.
Deaths of Roger and Larry Troutman
The group became temporarily defunct after the April 25, 1999, deaths of Roger and Larry
Troutman. To this day, family members can give no clear motive as to why the murder-suicide
committed by Larry on his younger brother happened though they agreed that the two brothers
must have had a business dispute, and sources say that Larry had not slept in several days and
was not in his normal state of mind at the time. It is also rumored that Roger had informed Larry
that he had selected a new manager, and Larry found this information hard to take after so many
years successfully carrying out this role.
In the past two decades, the band's music had been very popular among lowrider enthusiasts and
the Chicano/"Cholo" youth culture who appreciated Zapp's music. Their tracks are still being
used today, without remix or any alterations and are commonly danced to by pop performers.
"More Bounce To The Ounce" stands out as the most used sample in Chicano rap and West Coast
rap, being sampled in countless songs.
The main list of members of Zapp are featured here including those who joined the band either as
additional members or touring members:
Original principal lineup
Roger Troutman: vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, harmonica, vibraphone, percussion, talk box
Larry Troutman: percussion
Lester Troutman: drums
Terry "Zapp" Troutman: keyboards, bass, background vocals
Despite the murder of band-leader Roger Troutman, Zapp still continues to tour and record to this
day with Terry Troutman taking over the role as the band's frontman.
Terry "Zapp" Troutman: frontman, talk box, keyboards, synthesizer bass, background vocals
Lester Troutman: drums
Dale DeGroat: keyboards, lead vocals
Ricardo Bray: guitar, background vocals
Bart "Sure 2B" Thomas: talk box, guitar, background vocals
Robert "BiGG RoBB" Smith: MC, background vocals
Gregory Jackson - lead vocals
Deannah Dukes-lead and background vocals