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Van Halen producer reflects on band’s roots

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).

And 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, with mainman David Lee Roth stopping a show in New Jersey in August to berate a fan who threw a beer onstage.

Scott Munro

Scott looks after Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 25 years in newspapers and magazines and in 2014 joined our news desk, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more. Scott has previous written for the Daily Record, Sunday Mirror, The Herald and IGN.