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
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.