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.


18 Responses

  1. Huh. That story has been up for almost two hours, and not one post ridiculing Roth’s vocals or whining for Michael Anthony to return.

    You guys are slipping!!

    1. David Lee Roth’s vocals suck. Van Halen is not Van Halen without Michael Anthony. Wolfie is fat. I hate Sammy Hagar. Bring back Sammy Hagar. Paul Stanley sucks. Gene Simmons is a money-hungry tool. Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer are imposters. Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are KISS. Hey, Eddie, do you think of the G&R reunion will play in my town?

      ….How am I doin’?

    2. I know, it’s almost as if people aren’t allowed to have different opinions or something.

  2. I’m about to have a Shannon moment……as great as EVH is/was he and Blackmore were very similar in how they never let a solo get in the way of a great song. Yes he had his moments of pure shredding. But he didn’t have to prove himself on every solo of every song. And even when he did shred, it was quick and amazing. Blackmore is the same. They knew how great they were and didn’t have to prove anything to anybody. I’ve always admired both of them for that quality.

    1. Well said DR! Yes both were very much about the integrity of the music, first and foremost, I would say Ritchie even more so. If you watch him live, there’s a Purple DVD from the mid-90s, Ritchie’s last tour with Purple, and after Ritchie’s temper flare up in the first song, he gets down to business with some astonishing playing. Note how Ritchie supports the vocal by doing counter melodies on the guitar instead of just hanging on the riff. There were no background vocals whatsoever in Purple and yet, they sound as vivid and panoramic as Fleetwood Mac.

    2. If we’re talking about the same video, it absolutely kills me. Blackmore looks like he’s about to murder someone and Gillan stays completely away from him. You gotta figure he could be the utmost intense prick at times.

  3. great book,worth the read.vh was my band growing up.wild to know how long they were plaing before being signed.vh fans will love this book.took me back to 1978

  4. Damn, this guy has helmed all the best VH albums, right in a row. He must have some amazing stories, as well as be damn good at his craft. It’s also funny that he went from recording Carly Simon, right to Van Halen, wow.

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