Van Halen built studio for domestic bliss
Eddie Van Halen has recalled the reasons behind his decision to build his 5150 Studio ahead of the band recording their classic album 1984.
Part of it was to prevent arguments with then-wife Valerie – but another was his admitted control-freakery and desire to stop “butting heads” with producer Ted Templeman.
And the guitar icon admits the resulting premises were far more extensive that he’d originally planned.
He tells Guitar World: “I used to have a back room in my house where I set up a little four-track recorder. I have a tape of me playing at 5am and you can hear Valerie come in and yell that she’s heard enough of that song.”
He continues: “The bottom line is that I wanted more control. I was always butting heads with Ted Templeman about what makes a good record. My philosophy has always been that I would rather bomb with my own music than make it with other people’s music. Ted felt that if you re-do a proven hit, you’re already halfway there. I didn’t want to be halfway there with someone else’s stuff.”
Eddie’s continued debate with Templeman is one of the reasons 5150 didn’t remain simply a demo studio. “I wanted to show Ted we could make a great record without any cover tunes and do it our way,” he says.
“Donn Landee and I proceeded to figure out how to build a recording studio. I didn’t initially set out to build a full-blown studio, I just wanted a better place to put my music together so I could show it to the guys. I never imagined that it would turn into what it did until we started building it.”
1984 – released 30 years ago this week – remains Van Halen’s best-selling album. It spawned the hit singles Jump, Hot For Teacher, Panama and I’ll Wait, and sales hit 12-times platinum in the US alone.
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