The Epic 2017 Project #342: 171208
Van Halen (1978)
In 1976, Van Halen started recording demos for their first studio album. Although they’d recorded a demo in 1976 with Gene Simmons, no labels discovered these until the following year. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not make the recordings with their own equipment. Simmons had to leave to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, but said he would make an effort to get Van Halen a record deal after his tour.
After recording the demos, Van Halen were offered several concerts. At a sold-out show in their hometown, Pasadena, the group’s future manager, Marshall Berle, discovered the band. He and musical entrepreneur Kim Fowley paired them with punk rock band Venus and the Razorblades for a gig at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. Well received here, the band gained the attention of Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Ostin and Templeman were impressed with the band’s performance at the Starwood, and Van Halen went to sign a contract with Warner Bros.
The recordings of their debut album began in October 1977 and lasted only three weeks. Together with producer Ted Templeman, the album was mostly recorded live. Although “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Jamie’s Cryin'”, “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Ice Cream Man” contain guitar overdubs.
The subsequent tour to promote album sales began with the band opening for Journey, along with Montrose, in the United States. They later opened for Black Sabbath in Europe and in the U.S.