The name Ted Templeman first came on my radar back in early 1981 when I purchased my first ever Van Halen record that being Women and Children First with the album produced by Ted.
Just a few months later in the spring of 1981 comes another new Van Halen record titled Fair Warning and once again the name of Ted Templeman is listed as Producer.
Even at my young age back in 81, I knew there was a pattern developing, and by the time the 1984 album-hit the stores the last name of Templeman was listed as a producer on all six Van Halen records by that point. (1978-1984).
Author Greg Renoff has done a great job as the book reads like if Ted is talking to you directly over some beers.
Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producers Life In Music is a great read. There are lots of cool findings in this book starting off with Ted at a young age hanging in the studio watching Frank Sinatra sing and tell the producer what to do which Templeman adds came as a valuable lesson in dealing with artists down the road. A delicate balance.
Ted’s first production job was producing The Doobie Brothers’ self-titled release from 1971. From the Doobies, it was onto Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, Montrose (enter Sammy Hagar) Little Feat, and tons more of musical acts and artists.
When you look at Ted’s resume of production credits it’s very impressive (producing from 1971- 2010) but with all the success Templeman talks openly about working on albums and releasing singles that had stiffed on the charts. Ted can say when he was wrong and good on him for admitting the good and bad. Kudos to Ted talking about the Honeymoon Suite album he produced back in 1988. (Racing After Midnight)
When there is a credit to be be given Ted acknowledges how important Donn Landee(engineer) was to his production staff as he was Ted’s, right-hand man in the studio.
Ted’s working relationship with Van Halen is of course what I was fascinated to deep dive into and Ted goes about it the right way. He admits that there was turmoil in VH as the years went on but as Ted says Van Halen made it work for a while anyway’s.
Ted spills the beans but it’s the music that he spills the beans about which is a classy way to go. Renoff guides the conversation along with Ted as he goes from artist to band vice versa and in doing so talks at great lengths not only about the successful albums that he produced and the studio magic that happened.
Van Halen gets a lot of pages as you would expect as Ted produced the first 6 Halen albums along with a coproduction of the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album from the Van Hagar era. (Andy Johns was not happy about Ted getting asked for co-produce that Halen album).
I loved this part of the book as Renoff gets Ted to go into great detail each album by album in the Van Halen catalog that he was involved in.
As I mentioned earlier Ted can admit fault when he knows he’s been wrong as in the case of not thinking Jump would be a hit as it was too much of a diversion of the classic Van Halen sound.
What I found really interesting was how Ted said he wished the band had stayed the course of the Fair Warning sound which to my ears is probably the heaviest in the history of VH.
I could go on with about another 100 stories about the recordings of those Halen records but the best thing I can say is get a copy of this book and enjoy the story of a man who has his first and last name on the back of many of our Records/CDs and Cassette tapes in our music collection.