Future Man

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Future Man
Future Man with the Flecktones at the Woodland Park Zoo in 2007.
Future Man with the Flecktones at the Woodland Park Zoo in 2007.
Background information
Birth nameRoy Wilfred Wooten
Also known asFutche
Born (1957-10-13) October 13, 1957 (age 65)
Hampton, Virginia, United States
GenresJazz, Fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, inventor
Instrument(s)Drumitar, Zendrum, SynthAxe, Drums, Percussion, Vocals

Roy Wilfred Wooten (born October 13, 1957), also known as RoyEl, best known by his stage name Future Man (also written Futureman and known to fans as Futche[1]), is an American musician, inventor and composer.

He is best known as a member of jazz and bluegrass quartet Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, along with banjoist Béla Fleck, harmonicist Howard Levy, and Roy's brother, electric bass virtuoso Victor Wooten. His primary instrument is the SynthAxeDrumitar, a guitar synthesizer he has customized to play drum and percussion sounds,[2] but he also sometimes plays a standard drum kit and other conventional percussion.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Hampton, Virginia, Roy Wooten was raised in a military family and therefore traveled frequently. He is the second of five sons born to Dorothy and Elijah "Pete" Wooten. He graduated from Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia in 1975. He briefly attended music classes at Norfolk State University upon graduating from high school, and then embarked on his professional music career. He and his brothers moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the mid-1980s.

All of his brothers are musicians. The oldest, Regi, is a guitarist and teacher in Nashville. Roy Wooten, Regi, and his three younger brothers, Rudy (1959–2010) (saxophone), Joseph (keyboards), and Victor (bass guitar), performed as The Wooten Brothers in numerous musical venues in the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia during the 1970s.

Wooten is a six-time Grammy Award-winning performer with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.[3] For the Flecktones, he plays the Drumitar, a novel electronic instrument of his own invention, and occasionally performs vocals as well.

More recently, Wooten has developed a new electronic instrument called the RoyEl,[4] which resembles a piano but plays notes not found in the traditional western music scales. This instrument is based on the periodic table of elements[4] and the golden ratio.

In 2005, Wooten pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, after having been indicted on charges in 2001 that he had not filed or paid taxes between 1995 and 1998.[5] He was affiliated with the Washitaw Nation, and before his guilty plea had been judged possibly incapable of assisting in his own defense after filing incomprehensible sovereign citizen paperwork with the court.[6]

Solo work[edit]

Like the other members of the Flecktones, Wooten has worked on various solo projects during his time off from the band. On his own Wooten often dresses up as a pirate and uses the pseudonym "RoyEl", also the name he gave to the keyboard instrument he invented. Wooten's solo albums are experimental and incorporate diverse musical genres and concepts. On Evolution de la Musique, for example, he infuses classical music with jazz elements, especially improvisation, and spoken word.

Among extra-musical influences, Wooten describes Pythagorean numerology and Vedic mathematics as influencing his compositions.[7]

Wooten's solo works are:

  • The Seamless Script
  • Pi Lullaby
  • Evolution de la Musique
  • The Black Mozart Ensemble

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graham, Jefferson (August 6, 2004). "What IS that thing? Futureman explains the Drumitar". USA Today. Deer Valley, Utah: Gannett Company. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  2. ^ [dead link]Futureman's Synthaxe Drumitar Archived January 26, 2018, at the Wayback Machine flecktones.com.
  3. ^ "Flecktones // Bio - Futureman". Flecktones.com. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Templeton, David (April 2, 2001). "Weird Science". Metroactive. Metro Newspapers. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
  5. ^ "Flecktone, once part of 'Empire Washitaw De Dugdahmoundyah,' guilty of tax fraud - Nashville Post". Nashville Post. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "Take a tax protester position on your return: are you out of your mind?". Roth & Company, P.C. May 5, 2004. Archived from the original on February 28, 2005. Retrieved May 31, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Harden, Trevor (June 24, 2008). "Futureman, Pythagorean Societies and the Big Orgasm". RockOm.net. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-24.

External links[edit]