If I had a top one hundred song list, this would definitely be on it. Zapp and Roger’s music represents a lot of things to me, some of it related to nostalgia but also a certain positivity that existed in Los Angeles and specifically South Central during the 70s and 80s. Once in awhile I meet folks who were part of this scene and they exude a certain hopefulness, a kind of positive energy that is increasingly rare nowadays. I remember reading about some old school Los Angeles pop lockers who talked about the same thing. KDAY and Bobby Jimmy and the Critters are two examples.
Zapp and Roger were (and still are) so popular among Chicanos (and cholos) that the cancellation of one of their shows caused a riot. During one of the earlier Cinco de Mayo/Fiesta Broadway events the cops shut down a live Zapp and Roger performance when they were surprised by the size of the crowd (LA cops get nervous around large crowds). This sparked off a small disturbance which turned into a riot downtown with people running through the streets going crazy.
A funny related story, during this Fiesta Broadway/Zapp riot a friend of mine and his buddies jumped on girl’s car (their version of flirting), the cops saw and charged them with car jacking. Unbeknownst to him, this was all captured for an episode of COPS as he was later to find out when the people in the neighborhood told him “Hey, I saw you on Cops the other day!”
The recorded version of this song is preferable to the this live one but it’s pretty amazing to see Roger sing with the plastic tube stuck in his mouth. He really seems to be enjoying the performance. As many know, the times turned dark for these brothers and a tragic argument ended both of their lives.
The original version: