ROGER TROUTMAN

LESTER TROUTMAN

HISTORY page 3

The black hole was in the rhythm section, so Byron recruited some local talent, in to Cincinnati's Counterpart Recording Studio that would, a few short years later, become superstars of funk. "I called Roger and Lester Troutman," Byron begins," and paid them to do some sessions so i could get the album finished. We had been on shows together when they were little Roger then Roger and The Human Body, so we knew each other quite well." Lester laid drum tracks with Roger on bass, then Roger overdubbed guitar for four songs on the album, including the rousing "Live On, Dream On" But it was on "Wanna Make Love (Come Flick My BIC)" that history was made when it became the first national funk hit to feature Roger on his trademark talkbox device.

Rodger Troutman

Talkbox & Guitar

Lester Troutman

Drums & Percussion

Roger had already recorded with the talkbox on a regional single called "Freedom" by Roger & The Human Body on Troutman Brothers Records), which he and his brothers sold out of the trunks of their cars. But “Wanna Make Love” made the whole country take notice of the novel new sound. Byron states, “I directed Roger to sing the ‘I just want to make love to you’ melody. The way we were doing it at first was we were mimicking it. The talkbox effect really made it happen. Roger was brilliant at it.”

 

Detailing the experience further, Roger himself relates, “What I remember is Byron telling me and Lester how he wanted the track to go, and Beau Ray making quick , strong suggestions. Nowadays, the voicebox is something people know of and call me to put in a song. But twenty years ago, you can imagine how ridiculous I looked totin’ that thing around trying to advocate it for a record. When I was first trying to make records with it, people were like, ‘I can’t understand a word you’re sayin’. Sounds like you’ve got something’ in yo’ mouth! That ain’t sangin’!’ Once I got it set up and gave them a reasonable facsimile of what it would sound like, they were like, ‘Hey, let’s put this down!’ I’m appreciative to Byron, who has always been very, very cool. He had a wide variety of pickers and drummers to choose from in Dayton back then, and he chose us.” Because they were not official SUN members, Roger and Lester’s contribution were credited vaguely as “rhythm assistance.” But with Zapp’s “More Bounce To The Ounce” four years later in 1980, Roger Troutman went from incognito to indispensible!