Remembering Roger

By - Anthony Smith Sr

This is truly a sad time for me. To understand why, I'll start from 1979...

I had just gotten back from Korea. I was in the Air Force. I was stationed in a small town in North Carolina called, Goldsboro. My job in the AF was Police. I met a fellow New Yorker named George. He became my best friend; even till this day. He now lives in N. Carolina. But I go there for vacation constantly and visit him and his family.
N.C. was a place that was dull for a couple of New Yorkers that were very active in entertainment. So we tried to start up a group. I play the guitar, among 12 other instruments. George, well, he was New Yorks top male model in the 70's.
But I taught him about performing on the stage as a singer. He became a very high profile and energetic singer with the group. We got 7 other people to join and when we got our act together, there was no more military for me. We used to just go all over the world entertaining pepole in the name of The
U.S.Air Force. Life was great.
The week that we returned from a 19 city tour immediately pilled the group back into rehearsals. I was a stickler for details. We rehearsed on the base at the recreation center. We were starting to make a name for ourselves. We called ourselves, THE MAJESTICS, after George's old modeling company in New York. Life was good!!!!!
One day while we were rehearsing, an individual came storming in to our private studio offering advice to us. He looked liked a nut!! I asked him what he knows about this stuff, and he told me nothing and looked at me like I was the crazy one and walked out the room smiling. Then these two other guys came in and apologized to us and told us that they were the group to perform here tonight. Well, I know that the groups that the Military hires are a bunch of no talent wanna be's!! So the older one of the two invited us to come
and watch for free. So we accepted. We told them that we will offer our expert opinion and lend our help when needed. Besides, how good can they be with that nut in the group?! So we went to the show. And man, let me tell you, that group came out smoking!! But I still didn't see the 'NUT.'
Then they started to play a song and all that you heard was a heavy funk beat with someone playing a serious guitar lick!! I was trying to find the person who dares to play the guitar much better than I can ever imagine. Then the spotlight focuses to the entry way at the back of the concert hall and this guy comes out playing the guitar...
dancing ,walking across the seats, flirting with the women, sitting on their man's lap while he kisses them!! And he did all this without missing a lick on his guitar. The crowd was crazy. Then I realized that this was that 'NUT' that I had met only hours earlier.
The name of the group was,ROGER AND THE HUMAN BODY. Roger Troutman was the nut that could make any instrument succumb to his control! This guy was great!!! The Group was awesome!! So we hung out after the show. I met everyone. Roger was the leader, Larry Troutman was the oldest and the business manager and percussionist, Lester Troutman was the drummer, Zapp was the baby brother and bassist, Greg Jackson was the keyboardist and singer, Bobby Glover was the lead singer and Janetta Boyce was the female lead singer.
Man, these people were tight. I remember an incident when we were at a show and someone was harassing Larry, and Roger was ready for the Kill. But that's how close they were. You don't mess with Roger and expect Larry to just be silent. You didn't mess with Larry and expect Roger to just be silent. And you didn't mess with any one that was their friend and expect them to just be idle. Whenever they were in town, they would stay with me because they wanted peace and quiet from fame...And with me, they got it.
But, fame after 'MORE BOUNCE' was hard in the north. So they played to their original audience in the south. But,by and by,Roger and Zapp were a legacy of determination.

After their first show,I talked to the keyboard player,Greg Jackson,about his home in Cinicnatti,Oh. He said that his mother was so happy that the "MORE BOUNCE" track is really taking off. He said," fact,that record does not even come off the stereo. If any one wants to play another record,his mother says to just put the record on top of MORE BOUNCE. She doesn't want to look for it when she wants to play it. Roger just looked at Greg and shook his head and smiled. I told the guys that I was going to get them to their next show on the Air Force Base in style. Roger asked me what I had planned,I told him that he's going to like it.
So that night, I had to work. I was an MP. When the time came for them to leave I met them outside their hotel rooms on base and gave them the biggest police escort to the show. The guys loved it. When we arrived at the concert hall,we escorted them inside. Roger slapped me five and said,"GO head,MP's!" Then gave us a big smile and asked if we were staying for the show. I said that we don't get off till later. But Greg and Larry said that there's an after party and told us where it was.
When we got there, Greg met us outside. Larry said that they wanted to go shopping the next day and asked if George and myself would escort them. I said sure. We then went inside and partied with the crowd of WHO'S WHO'S in the music business. They introduced me to George Clinton, Larry Blackmon of CAMEO, SLAVE and many other's. These guys were very classy and wild at the same time. But Larry ,Greg, Roger, Bobby, Lester, ,Zapp, and Janetta treated all who came in contact with them with respect.
After we left the party, we went to Burger King then came back to their Hotel rooms, ate, talked, laughed at some wild stories then I crashed on the floor. I told them that I'll see them when George and myself get off then we'll go to town.

Roger and Larry, I miss and Love you guys.
Anthony Smith Sr:

  • The ZAPP Discography - By Roger Troutman!
  • 1996 Interview with Roger -Courtesy of Funk-U Magazine & P-VIEWS
  • Ode to Roger - By Rev. Keith "Songlife" Crenshaw
  • Remembering Roger - By Anthony Smith

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