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Roger Troutman

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Roger Troutman (November 29, 1951 - April 25, 1999) was the lead singer of the band Zapp. Born in Hamilton, Ohio Troutman was the fourth of nine children. Like his mentor Clinton, who recorded for several labels at the same time under different monikers, Troutman recorded simultaneously as Roger, releasing albums and hit singles on Warner Bros.

Innovative funkster Roger Troutman is considered by many the master of the Talk box — an effects pedal usually used by guitarists, that Roger connected to keyboard to create robotic-sounding vocals. As a member of Zapp, a band that included his brothers Larry, Lester, and Terry, and recording under the solo moniker of Roger, he helped define and give life to a difficult-to-play instrument that previously was used for gimmicky effects and, as played by others, was basically devoid of personality. He’d often bring his Talk Box along on radio interviews, treating the listeners to his skills.

On Sunday, April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was found shot and critically wounded outside a recording studio in Dayton, Ohio; he died during surgery at a local hospital. Roger’s brother Larry was found dead in a car a few blocks away with a single gunshot wound to the head. It is likely that a personal dispute had developed between the two brothers; as far as can be determined, Larry shot Roger, then shot himself.

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