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Troutman Sound Labs

The Dayton View Triangle Neighborhood was home to one of the most influential groups in the funk genre. Located at the corner of Catalpa Dr. and Salem Ave was the recording studio of ZAPP founders, the Troutmans.

From 1983 until the tragic deaths of Roger and Larry Troutman in 1999, Troutman Sound Labs was the home base for Dayton-based funk group Zapp. The recording studio at Salem Avenue and Catalpa Drive was the site of recordings by Zapp and solo work from Roger Troutman, Shirley Murdock and the Ohio Players' Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner.


The building fell into disrepair and was demolished in August 2004 by the City of Dayton as part of a revitalization effort called the Phoenix Project.


The following excerpt is from the December 19, 2010 edition of the Dayton Daily News

Memorials planned for Troutman, Who tragedy

By Dave Larsen Staff Writer

Roger Troutman, a founder of the chart- topping soul and funk band Zapp, will be celebrated with a public art installation at the new Salem and Catalpa Gateway, on the site of the former Troutman recording studio in Dayton.


Roger and his brother Larry Troutman died April 25, 1999, in what police ruled as a murder-suicide.


“I just couldn’t fathom anything going up without remembering the legacy of Roger,” said Shirley Murdock, a singer and actress who credited Troutman with launching her career.


The Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District on Dec.

10, 2010 awarded a $10,000 grant to Citywide Development Corporation for the Salem and Catalpa sculpture scheduled to be installed in 2011.


That project is a collaboration of Dayton View Triangle Federation, the Fairview Neighborhood Association and the Phoenix Project, a community redevelopment partnership between the city of Dayton and Good Samaritan Hospital. Citywide manages the Phoenix Project.


“We want it to be a beautiful piece of art that symbolizes the rebirth of the community and the musical legacy of the Trout - mans,” said Karen DeMasi, Citywide’s Phoenix Project manager.


Troutman legacy Roger Troutman found international success both with Zapp and as a solo performer, charting such hits as “More Bounce to the Ounce,” “Dance Floor” and “Computer Love.”

He died in April 1999 at Good Samaritan Hospital after being shot in an alley behind Troutman Sound Labs on Salem Avenue.

Police said Larry Troutman shot his brother four times before turning the gun on himself.


“It’s really like rebirth, not only for the neighborhood, but to remember the life and legacy,” said Murdock of Trotwood.


Dayton artist Michael Bashaw said his Salem and Catalpa sculpture will use a triangle motif to represent the Dayton View Triangle, and also incorporate wind-activated tone rods to create a melodic reference to Roger Troutman’s work. “In first considering the Salem Avenue site I wanted to create a work of art that paid tribute to the significant creative history that occurred there, and given the Troutmans’ commitment to community development, address the geometric motif of the Dayton View Triangle in a broad way,” Bashaw said.


The working budget for the sculpture, lighting, memorial plaque and maintenance is about $60,000, according to DeMasi.


“We probably have a third of that raised at this point,” she said. Project leaders hope to reach their fundraising goal by spring to allow Bashaw to build the sculpture next summer and install it in the fall. “We are setting up a fund at the Dayton Foundation called ‘The Music Lives On’ so that people can make tax-deductable contributions to this project and help us to get this built,” DeMasi said.

How to donate Donate to The Music Lives On fund at Click on “donate online” and type in the fund name. 


Michael Bashaw adjusts an element in a model of a sound sculpture he hopes to create to honor the late Dayton musician Roger Troutman. Staff photo by Jan Underwood.

The following was published by on October 16. 2020.

Troutman Sound Labs gets Ohio historical marker

Site was home base for the legendary Dayton-based funk group Zapp.

A major piece of Dayton’s rich funk history was physically cemented in Ohio history Friday morning.

The site of the former Troutman Sound Labs was dedicated with an Ohio historical marker in the center of the Salem and Catalpa Gateway. Mayor Nan Whaley led the commemoration ceremony that began with a soulful performance of “Amazing Grace” by R&B legend Shirley Murdock, who created music at the studio.

From 1983 until the tragic deaths of Roger and Larry Troutman in 1999, Troutman Sound Labs was the home base for Dayton-based funk group Zapp. The recording studio at Salem Avenue and Catalpa Drive was the site of recordings by Zapp and solo work from Roger Troutman, Shirley Murdock and the Ohio Players' Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner.

Troutman brother Lester, accompanied by younger brother Terry Troutman, gave moving remarks just before the marker was unveiled.

“It almost brings me to tears as I walked around this morning, looking around at the memories that we had,” Troutman said. “This is more than ours; this is... this is amazing. This is really amazing. And I would like to say to my two brothers Roger and Larry, who lay to rest today — this was always a journey. The music was always a journey and always a dream of ours to be able to have our own.”

The project to secure the site with a historical marker began as an assignment for two Bowling Green State University graduate students, Kari Boroff and Jacqueline Hudson. Both, now BG alumni, spoke Friday morning during the ceremony.

“What started out as a school project blossomed into something that I could have never imagined,” Boroff said. ... “As a Dayton native, I already knew about the rich history of funk music that originated in the city, especially Zapp. However, I have to admit, at the beginning of this project, I did not know much about the Troutman Sound Lab. ... After discovering the wonderful contributions that were made through the recording studio, not only to the community but to the history of music, I realized that this site needed to be recognized and celebrated.”

The Troutman sound was embraced in the 1990s by some of the biggest names in hip-hop. In addition to rap producers sampling the group’s recordings, Roger Troutman also appeared on Snoop Dogg’s “Doggystyle” (1993), “California Love” by 2Pac and Dr. Dre (1995) and Kool Keith’s “Master of the Game” (1999).

Roger Troutman was killed on April 25, 1999, by his brother Larry Troutman in a shocking murder-suicide.

In 2012, the statue that now stands directly behind the historical marker was installed in the Salem and Catalpa Gateway to honor Roger Troutman. The metalwork was created by Dayton artist Michael Bashaw.

Dayton’s funk legacy has been honored with an Ohio historical marker. The former site of Troutman Sound Labs, the Salem Avenue recording studio where music pioneer Roger Troutman and his family produced music, is the site of one of this year’s honors. LISA POWELL / STAFF

In 2023, the Dayton View Triangle Federation, Inc. received a $10,000 Special Projects Grant from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District to repaint and expand the ZAPP Mural to include a new image of Roger at his keyboard with a talk tube in his mouth. 

The original ZAPP III album cover mural was painted during the summer of 2016 by the artist John Martin, who has done other murals across Dayton. We were able to get in touch with him and refresh the mural after a large portion of it flaked off the wall. This funding also allowed him to expand the mural and create the image of Roger at his keyboard.

Special thanks to Kegan Sickels from the Dayton View Triangle Federation, who for years has been looking for opportunities to make this mural revitalization happen.

The Dayton View Triangle Federation is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who work to make the Dayton View Triangle neighborhood the best it can be. 


To get involved, or find support for a Dayton View Triangle neighborhood project, contact us at 937-503-7016 or email us at

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