Ted Templeman admits that he was wrong about Van Halen’s single “Jump” since it went to number one
RollingStone recently did a comprehensive interview with Van Halen‘s long-time producer Ted Templeman who produced the band’s first six studio albums with David Lee Roth on lead vocals — Van Halen (1978), Van Halen II (1979), Women And Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982) and 1984 (1984) — and co-produced the record For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) when Sammy Hagar was fronting the band. Templeman granted this interview to remember his long-time friend — Van Halen guitar legend Eddie Van Halen — who lost his fight with cancer only six days ago,
With respect to whether he ever had any disagreement with Eddie Van Halen, Templeman revealed: “The only falling out we ever had was over “Jump,” because I didn’t — I don’t like it.”
Templeman went on to state: “It’s not one of my favorite things. It’s stupid because I produced it, but the keyboards just hit me as wrong. He would call me up in the middle of the night and say, “Ted, you’ve got to hear this. I’m gonna come and get you.” And he drove down in his Porsche to Century City and picked me up at three in the morning and drove me up there: “Listen to this.” And they had “Jump” down. Donn had worked on it. And it did work; it sounded great. And I said, “Yeah, OK.” The next morning, I said, “Dave, write some lyrics.” We sat in the back of his Mercury. He was writing this song, and I said, “That’s terrible.” I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, but they used to do this song about a guy that’s stuck up in a fire in a building and they’re going, “Jump, you fucker, jump into this blanket what we are holding.” I said, “That bothers me. Don’t say ‘jump.’ It sounds like you’re encouraging somebody to commit suicide.” He said, “Nah, nah. I got this thing nailed. It’s got a double entendre.” And he did. It meant, “Take a chance,” but it also meant he was gonna get this girl.
But I wasn’t wild about the keyboard trend. I was wrong because it was Number One, but I don’t even listen to it. To me, they were a heavy-metal fucking band that could do pop tunes; that’s what I liked about ’em. But that took it into another arena. It reminded me of those bands that play in arenas, and then the fucking thing ended up getting played at every arena before a game. But look, I was wrong.”
In terms of staying in touch with Eddie Van Halen and his best memory of the guitarist, Templeman indicated: “Donn Landee and I would call him up when he was at the hospital at Cedars and try to make him laugh the best we could. Then it got to where they took him home and stuff I don’t want to talk about. The misery he was going through is really hard to relate to or think about, so I blocked that out. So my last best memory is when he came over and brought over his car to show me, just like when he got his first car that worked [laughs]. He had to drive down to Century City to show it to me. In fact, I live in this gated community and the [gate man] called me up and said, “There’s a guy down here who says he’s Eddie Van Halen. Should I tell him to go away?” I said, “No, no, no, that’s him. I swear to God.” [Laughs]”
You can read the rest of the interview with Ted Templeman at RollingStone‘s website.
Van Halen‘s “Jump” video: