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Zapp VII: Roger & Friends
ZAPP IS BACK!!
ZAPP Salutes The Late Roger Troutman on Zapp VII: Roger & Friends
New album continues the band’s 40-year legacy of funk with special guest appearances by Bootsy Collins, Frankie J., Tuxedo, Kurupt and Snoop Dogg
Back in 1978, four brothers out of Dayton, Ohio — Roger, Larry, Lester and Terry Troutman — formed the electro-funk band Zapp with the single-minded purpose of getting people out on the dance floor. Their 1980 self-titled debut, produced by Bootsy Collins and with input from P-Funk founder George Clinton, went gold on the strength of their influential hit single, “More Bounce to the Ounce,” which would later be sampled by the next generation of rappers and hip-hop stars, including EPMD, The Notorious B.I.G., Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Easy-E, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, among many others. “I’m sure that song has over 600 cleared samples now,” says Lester Troutman Jr., who manages business affairs for the Dayton-based band. “That tune was hit hard. It was up there with some of James Brown’s catalog. It almost got to the point where if you wanted some kind of commercial success, you had to get a Zapp-Roger sample.”
Roger Troutman, the gifted multi-instrumentalist-singer-arranger for the group, would go on to score similar success with the equally infectious single “Dance Floor” from Zapp’s 1982 followup gold album, Zapp II. The band of brothers continued to hit gold on 1983’s Zapp III and 1985’s Zapp IV, then delivered Zapp V: Zapp Vibe in 1989. Tragedy struck in 1999 with the untimely deaths of Zapp’s principal creative force, Roger, and his older brother Larry. The band regrouped and delivered Zapp VI: Back By Popular Demand in 2001 and subsequently returned to active duty on the international touring scene.
Now the funkateers are back with Zapp VII: Roger & Friends, which celebrates the 40-year legacy of the band while paying homage to the creative genius of Roger Troutman. The album will be released on the LEOPARD label in fall 2018. With Roger’s signature talk box and synth bass lines in full effect on tunes like “Rock Ya Body” (featuring Mr. Talkbox), “Shy” (with Tuxedo), “Make It Funky” (with Bootsy Collins), “Red & Dollars” (with Snoop Dogg) and “After Party” (with Kurupt), this latest Zapp outing is geared to make people move on the dance floor. As Lester Troutman Jr. explains, “This group has always been about three things: hook ‘em, get ‘em dancin’ and keep ‘em dancin’. And I honestly think the secret to Zapp has always its authenticity. They genuinely want to make you get up and really dance and just forget about all your troubles, and it comes out through the music.”
Zapp VII: Roger & Friends also includes posthumous performances by Roger himself on “Red & Dollars” and the beautiful ballad “Angel,” which was pieced together from an early demo tape he made. His voice can also be heard explaining his discovery of the talk box and its effect on dancers in the spoken word passages on “Zappa & Roger.” “Roger’s real instrument was guitar,” explains Larry Troutman Jr.. “He loved jazz, he loved instrumental music, but he was also a great producer-arranger in the studio and he developed something that was going to catch the people. And so it’s great that these West Coast legends like Snoop, DJ Battlecat and Kurupt pay homage to Roger’s genius and creative abilities on this new record.”
From start to finish, Zapp VII: Roger & Friends fulfills the 40-year legacy of the Ohio electro-funk pioneers. Expect the excitement level on Zapp’s upcoming tours of the States, Europe and Asia to be off the hook. As Larry Troutman Jr. puts it, “When you see the band performing, when the music starts to really hit it doesn’t stop. Once the music starts people are doing backflips, people are getting into it. Zapp is going to make you feel it.”