VAN HALEN PROUCER TED TEMPLEMAN DISCUSSES THE BAND, SAYS “[EDDIE VAN HALEN IS] ONE OF THE MOST CREATIVE GUYS I’VE EVER MET”
Van Halen producer Ted Templeman says the band’s early material drew on musical influences from outwith the traditional rock genre.
He was behind the desk for the band’s first six albums: Van Halen (1978), Van Halen II (1979), Women And Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982) and 1984 (1984).
While attending the launch of Greg Renoff’s book Van Halen Rising: How A Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, he was asked if a move away from their early leanings towards progressive rock for their self-titled debut had been a deliberate move.
Templeman says, “They had so many facets to what they did – they were always trying to evolve. I liked jazz guys like Jaco Pastorius and I would turn them on to what I liked, and I played them jazz. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen wanted to do something different all the time, he wanted to keep moving. He’s one of the most creative guys I’ve ever met in my life. Ed was always reaching for something else.”
Van Halen wrapped up a North American tour in October.
Staying away from bashing Eddie, whining about how Mike should be back in the band and how much Dave’s vocals suck now, I’ll say this:
They changed the face of hard rock. I’ve never considered them to be a metal band. They made some of the most fun, party rock of all time. The first album alone has probably been the soundtrack to more backyard parties, house parties or keggers than just about any other album in history. No doom and gloom, just up, fist pumping, shouting out fun time rock music. They followed that pattern until FAIR WARNING, which has a meaner, darker vibe and, for that reason, it’s the worst selling of the first six albums, even though it’s actually my favorite.
I completely agree with you about Fair Warning, and loved that album for the same reason. It was darker, but in a very cool way that showed that they were more than just a party band.
I’ll never forget going on a camping trip with my bud Mike and his dad while in Junior High, Fair Warning had been previewed in its entirety on the radio the night before and Mike taped it. I get in the car at some very early morning hour, and Mike hits play on his portable cassette player. Something about just waking up, getting in a warm car, and hearing the new Van Halen record when it’s not even in the store yet, and having said record do everything you want it to do plus surprise you with how raw it is, at 13, you just think that you must have a charmed life or something. Another funny thing about that trip is that I got battered by mosquitos, I looked like I got the chicken pox, and Mike only got like one or two…
Ouch! That sucks! I always get attacked by mosquitoes even if I’m covered in mosquito repellent.