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 and Gregory Jackson (Cincinnati Ohio Funk Keyboardist). 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. Two Warner-released best-of collections compiled Zapp and Roger's most popular songs: "All The Greatest Hits" and "Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 & More". These compilations were released under the artist name Zapp & Roger. Active years: Roger Troutman (1980-1999) Larry Troutman (1980-1999) Lester Troutman (1980-present) Terry "Zapp" Troutman (1980-present) Roger "Lynch" Troutman II (1985-1989) Aaron Blackmon (1985-1989) Bobby Glover (1980-1984) Carl Cowen (1980-1989) Dale DeGroat (1985-present) Eddie Barber (1982-1984) Gregory Jackson (1980-present) Janetta Boyce (1980-1985) Jerome Derrickson (1982-1985) Nicole Cottom (1989-late 90's) Ray "Stingray" Davis (1984-1989) Robert "Bigg Robb" Smith (1989-2009) Sherman Fleetwod (1983-1989) Shirley Murdock (1984-1989) Wanda Rash (1981-1984) Additional members: Bart Thomas (1984-1988) Billy Beck (1983-1989) Dick Smith (1983-1989) Robert "Kuumba" Jones
Zapp (also known as the Zapp Band or Zapp & Roger) is a funk band that emerged from Hamilton, Ohio, in 1977. Particularly influential in the electro subgenre of funk. Zapp served as partial inspiration toward the creation of the G-funk sound of hip-hop popular on the West Coast of the United States in the early to mid 1990s, with many of their songs sampled by numerous hip-hop artists. The original line-up consisted of four brothers - Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Lester Troutman and Terry Troutman - and non-Troutman family members Bobby Glover and Gregory Jackson. The group received attention in the early 1980s for implementing heavy use of the talk-box, which became one of their most well known characteristics. Zapp worked closely with members George Clinton and Bootsy Collins of the band Parliament-Funkadelic during its early stages, their support being a factor in the group gaining a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1979. Zapp released its eponymous debut album in 1980, having a P-funk reminiscent sound as a result of Clinton's and Collin's input on the production. Zapp achieved most of its mainstream recognition from the single "More Bounce to the Ounce" from the same album, now widely regarded as a classic example of early 1980s electronic funk. The following year in 1981, Clinton stopped producing the band over a record dispute regarding Roger Troutman's solo debut. Zapp continued to produce several more albums thereafter, releasing Zapp II in 1982. The album's musical style veered drastically away from their first release, despite this, the album sold well, and was certified gold by late 1982. Zapp disbanded in 1999 after both Roger and Larry Troutman were killed in a murder-suicide, that was apparently carried out by Larry. Roger was shot several times before dying in hospital during surgery. Larry's body was found close-by in his vehicle with a single gunshot wound to the head. The motive behind Larry's attack is unclear, but there are speculations that were arguments over money, and Larry being angry over the lack of consultation Roger had gave as to why he fired him from being his manager. Zapp reformed briefly in 2003 with the remaining brothers of the Troutman family to produce the album Zapp VI: Back By Popular Demand. Zapp currently tours only around small scale concerts in the United States.