Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music (2020)


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.

A must-read!





26 thoughts on “Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music (2020)”

  1. I really like the look of this one. I’m often more interested in books and interviews by producers, managers… people like that. They seem to have more interesting (honest?) opinions and stories than the musicians because they’re more behind the scenes. I’d love John Kalodner to do one. He has so much to talk about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kalodner/Rock would be another 2 good one’s as well.
      You should pick this up Scott. Ted tells all kinds of stuff. Roth firing him in 87 is brutal but it’s business.
      Than getting the call to help VH in 91 and Andy Johns goes bonkers. lol
      Great read. Well read it again at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a no-brainer for me. I have added to my wishlist and maybe be a good holiday gift from the family. Between this and the Bob Rock podcast, so much behind the scenes information flying around that us fans just love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice one, Deke – I like the sounds of the book & the producer’s attitude.
    I appreciate that he acknowledges when things didn’t go as he envisioned & he gives plenty of credit to his engineer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ted comes across as a stand up guy both in and out of the studio Geoff, as Greg does a great job at going from year to year and artist to artist and band to band as well.
      Great read.


  4. Could be an interesting read. I know Ted’s name mainly through all the Doobie Brothers records he was a part of. I find it interesting hearing how some of the producers really had input and shaped the sound of their artists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great read Dave. Along with Halen and the Doobies are featured a lot as Ted even played some drums on their albums. Some real interesting facts about the Minute By Minute album and how hard it was to get What A Fool Believes recorded.
      I will add that Micheal MacDonald is one hell of a talent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. he is. Being Canadian, do you remember the SCTV skit with someone playing Michael McDonald? He kept ripping up to the studio, adding his one line to a song, (I think it was Minute by Minute), runs out, then has to run back in to add one more line to the chorus and so on… it was funny. As was most of that show!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t remember that one at all. I will have to scour Youtube for it.
        I remember The Plasmatics on there with Gil Fisher and them destroying his log cabin. lol


  5. He produced a couple of my favorite Van Morrison albums…I can only imagine what he says about Morrison…he could be difficult. Great producer and a huge range of artists.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Van Morrison gave Ted his first producing job as he has nothing but good things to say about Van how he was patient with him during the recording.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! I didn’t expect that. Van has been known to get up and walk out during an interview without saying anything… That is cool that he was good for him.
        Templeman did a great job.

        Liked by 1 person

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