Van Halen Had Several 10-Minute Songs Before Debut Album
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
January 25, 2022
One of the great contributions Van Halen ever got in its career from a record producer came from Ted Templeman during some of the band's first recording sessions.
Van Halen arrived in the studio for the first time as a hard-working live act with the daunting task of distilling the excitement of its live show onto tape. The band's songs were mostly well-crafted, but there was fat to be trimmed.
In a new conversation with Jeremy White, Michael Anthony recalls how Templeman helped the band see the forest for the trees when it came to arranging songs.
"[Producers] make suggestions, especially like Ted Templeman in the early days because if we were left totally to our own devices, each song would have been like 10 minutes long," Anthony recalls.
"Every song started out with a long guitar intro — every single song that we had. Then it would be this long instrumental thing and then the vocals would come in. It was like, 'No, no, no, no, guys. Let's just cut this part a little bit shorter and go right into the vocals and whatever.'
"They kind of help piece the things together and put this part here and whatever. Everybody would make certain musical suggestions, as far as, 'Try doing this or that.' But no one tried to steer us into doing what they wanted us to do. They always let us do our thing."
Templeman ended up working on seven Van Halen albums overall, including the band's first six LPs.
Check out the full clip via the player above.