20 QUESTIONS WITH…
Photographer Neil Zlozower
Neil Zlozower is one of rock’s most legendary photographers. He’s worked with pretty much everybody at one time or another and has shot some of the most famous sessions in rock history. He shot the Motley Crue blood sessions and a majority of all the David Lee Roth era Van Halen pictures you’ve seen. If you’re a band and Neil hasn’t shot you, then you haven’t made it yet!
So we had Jim Bob Dwarf call up Neil last Tuesday, March 11th, and he talked to Neil for well over an hour. Neil was a great sport and shared a lot of great stories, as well as some of his classic photos. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote your shit.
What am I up to? Going through an ugly, nasty, divorce. As far as work goes, I’m just workin’, workin’, workin’. Trying to pay lawyer bills. Trying to pay alimony, child support, and all that crap. So, I mean with me, you know, nothing really excites me. So it’s like, I just shoot a job and then it’s over. People go, "Hey Zloz, what have you been doing exciting lately? Who have you been shooting that’s cool and interesting?" No one. It’s all the same to me. It’s another day, another job, that’s what I do. It doesn’t excite me. That’s what I do for a living, I’m a rock n’ roll photographer. It all blends into one. Whether it’s cleaning my studio, shooting a Steve Vai shoot, working with David Lee Roth, who’s my favorite entertainer of all time….you know, it’s all the same. It’s just one after another.
2. Dude, what’s up with Eddie Van Halen? Have you seen or talked to him lately? Any scoop?
Ahh, nope, I haven’t spoken to Ed. I saw him, believe it or not, at Disneyland on my birthday and there were about 50 million people there and I actually ran into him at Disneyland by accident and he was great, but no, I haven’t really spoken to Ed for a long time. I mean, I don’t know what he’s doing. I did call him from my house one day and he was playing guitar in the background and he actually started playing me some shit over the phone that sounded just fucking incredible! I mean obviously he’s an amazing guitarist, but I don’t know whether he’s lost his drive or what? It just seems like, you know….nothing’s going on in the Van Halen camp. I guess they’re looking for a new singer and, you know, hopefully they’ll find one. But, uh, it just seems like they just can’t quite get it together. I don’t know why.
3. You have to have stories of debauchery for days. Will there ever be a Neil Zlozower tell all book with pics included?
Put it this way. I have in the works a Van Halen book that, you know, people are always like "Zlozower, when ya gonna come out with the book? When ya gonna come out with the book, bro?" I don’t want to do a book that’s like, "here’s a picture of Tom Waits, here’s a picture of, you know, Fleetwood Mac, here’s one of Motley Crue." If I’m gonna do a book, I want to do a dedicated Van Halen book. The David Lee Roth years, which to me is THE Van Halen. Forget Sammy, forget Gary. I have actually a book proposal that I put together myself with an another art director, Tom Germond, who’s one of the best art directors I’ve ever worked with. You know we put a book proposal together, we sent it to some book publishers. We really haven’t gotten any positive feedback yet. I think it’s just because of the fact when you send a book to a book publisher, if you don’t have any connections, you know, it gets lost in the shuffle with 25 million other book proposals. So maybe if the readers out there show a big enough interest, I’ll just actually do it myself with the art director and probably have better control and it’ll be a better book than if, you know, Barnes & Noble or Crown or someone else does it. If I do a book, it’s going to be a Van Halen book. I don’t know if I’m going to tell all the juicy tidbits that, you know, I experienced, but of all the bands that I ever worked with, I would definitely say Van Halen….we did things that people just dream of doing, and that, you know, probably people don’t even know go on in real life. The backstage and the partying and everything, that was some of the most outrageous years of my life.
4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
Right now? Well I hate to say it. I got a hunch the one that’s gonna have to break up and call it a day is probably going to be Great White, you know, with that unfortunate circumstance. But on a musical level, are you talking about a band from the 80s?
Jim Bob: It could be any band.
Ahhhhh, well there’s a lot of bands out there that I think personally suck, that I won’t even call music, that seem to get away with selling millions and millions of records, but, you know, I’m 48 years old, I hate to admit. I’m sort of maybe a dinosaur relic in my old age….but I don’t really know. That’s a good question. I’ll have to think of that. Maybe at the end of the interview I’ll be able to come up with something that I think could answer that question. Right off the top of my head, I mean, my motto is different strokes for different folks. What I may hate someone else may love and vice versa. So I can’t really think of anything off hand that should really pack it up and call it a day cause one, musically they’re terrible and suck. Two, they’re just not in with today’s theme. I mean, you know, friends of mine bands in Ratt and Warrant, they could tool on forever and ever doing their greatest hits or like Poison. No one really cares about a new album from any of those bands, but as long as they can keep on touring, they can always make a "decent living." So, I love the guys in Warrant, you know, and I love the guys in Ratt, at least 4 out of 5 of them I like. I’m not a big fan of Jizzy Pearl, to be honest with you. He used to be one of my best friends and he sort of lost his mind a ways back somewhere…
Jim Bob:Oh wow.
Yeah, well, we won’t get into that story. Warren DeMartini is one of my closet friends. I love Warren. I love the guys in Warrant, and so on and so forth. C.C.DeVille, love C.C. Bobby, Rikki, they’re all great guys.
5. Rank the following rock photographers on a scale of 1 to 10. One being a hack, and 10 having a golden eye:
You know, I don’t want to get into ranking photographers. I’ll give you a brief description.
William Hames = William at one point was probably one of my top two or three rock n’ roll photographers. William in the 80s did amazing photos. One of my favorites back in the 80s.
Mark Weiss = uh….never quite a bit fan of Mark Weiss, we’ll put it that way.
Annamaria DiSanto = well in case you folks don’t know, I actually sell Ann’s photos now. She’s probably one of the hardest working photographers out there. She’s constantly shooting. She basically learned about 99% of everything she knows from me cause she used to work for me. So, I mean….obviously I love her work. She’s got her good days, and she has her bad days, just like everybody else. I mean, I’d like to think I’m perfect but I’m a realist, so not everybody can give ya 100% results all the time. Ann, I think she’s a great photographer at what she does. She’s able to work in situations where she’s got 2 minutes or 20 minutes and here you are in a record company office with nothing to work with and she can pull off some good photos.
Ross Halfin = Ross is a good ol’ buddy of mine. We’ve shared many a great memory. Ross is great, you know. I think Ross is one of the consistently, more creative photographers out there. He always delivers excellent results. Ross is probably, to me, the number one rock n’ roll photographer out there now.
Robert John = Robert’s a good buddy of mine. To be honest with you, I haven’t really seen much of Robert’s current work. We talk on the phone every so often. The Guns N’ Roses days, that was sort of like his baby back then, but I really don’t see much of Robert’s work these days. The funny thing there is, Robert came out with the Guns N Roses book, and I remember when Robert first started. I used to really dislike his earlier photos. They were sort of crude…they weren’t very polished. And then, I saw him later, sort of get more polished and more professional. And then when he came out with the Guns N Roses book, it was actually the ruder, cruder, more raw photos in the book that I liked than his later stuff. So Robert’s a good friend of mine. Robert is a person I love. I haven’t seen much of his photos lately.
Gene Kirkland = Gene’s another good buddy of mine. Gene delivers consistently good photos, you know. You know if you call on Gene and you want results, you aren’t going to go back and Gene’s not going to give you film that looks like shit and it’s not going to be out of focus and it’s going to be properly exposed. Gene’s a consistent photographer. He’s been shooting a long time. Gene helped me out once at a Blackmore’s Rainbow show. Richie threw his guitar into the audience and as soon as he did that, the crowd was like clammering to get his guitar, and I used to literally shoot with a flash back then, some of the time. And my flash got sheared off my camera and I had to do some trade photos after the set. And I didn’t have a flash, and I didn’t even know Gene, and I was like, "Dude, I need to borrow your flash, give me this thing." And I just sorta grabbed it off his camera and I didn’t even know him, he didn’t know me, but he let me use his flash and basically we’ve been friends ever since that day. He sorta came to my need when I needed a flash and he didn’t give me any shit and he’s like "here dude, borrow this. Use it." So I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Kirkland.
Glen LaFerman = Glen, you know, used to be one of my best friends for a long time. I’ve known Glen for 20, 25 plus years. And what Glen does, he does it good. Umm, I hate to say it, he’s a little one sided in his photos. He’s got one particular style and like I said, Glen makes people look great, but the one thing I’m not crazy about Glen is whether you shoot a young girl, or an old girl, or a fat person or a skinny person or whatever you shoot with Glen, you pretty much get one look. You can always…he’s got one particular type of lighting. He’s got one particular background that he uses. So what he does, he does great. I just think Glen’s a little limited in his photography. I think he needs to come up to the year 2010 and get out of the 80s a little bit.
Rob Jones =Well Rob doesn’t really shoot photos anymore. I think he’s the head honcho of KNAC. I knew Rob, basically, I think Rob’s claim to fame was shooting Poison’s first album cover where they looked like four chicks on the cover. Yeah, I like Rob. Rob’s a nice guy. I don’t really think he shoots anymore so I don’t want to comment on his current photography ability. I don’t even know if he’s picked up a camera in the last 10 years. But in his day, what he did he did good. The first Poison album cover is a classic. To me, that’s Poison at their best. That first album, that first Poison album is what hooked me on Poison. I think it’s a great album. I even, still to this day, pop it on. If you want to hear some good, fun music, put on the first Poison album.
Barry Levine = No comment on Barry. I rather keep this conversation to human beings and people that I respect.
Anton Corbijn = Well, you know, Anton, I don’t really see much of his stuff now. Anton had this one technique that he did, that was sort of a printing lab technique. It seems like he shot from basically obscurity to someone who was making $25,000, $50,000 a photo shoot working for bands like Pearl Jam and U2 at one point. I met him once, he was ok as a person. I mean his photos, if you took away his special effect that he had in his printing, you know…..I mean….he’s cool. I think he’s moved on to be more of a film/video director. And basically, I never watch MTV. I hate videos. To me, MTV basically, more or less killed the whole music industry. And here ya got these bands that some video director listens to their song and says, "we’re gonna interpret this like that and we’re gonna get this hot chick and we’re gonna have this guy smashing a car." I mean, I HATE rock n’ roll videos. I wish…..music is supposed to be music. To me a videos is…I can’t say how much I think MTV and music videos have hurt the music industry. It’s helped some performers but it has also hurt them at the same time.
Eddie Maluk = Eddie is a good friend of mine in New York. Same thing with Gene, or with Ross. You need a consistent, expect, professional photographer that you know you can call, and say "I’ve got a job for you." You don’t have to tell Eddie, "do this like this." Eddie is professional. He’s the East Coast guy. If somebody called me and said, "can you recommend somebody on the East Coast?" it would be Eddie Maluk. Eddie is a good friend of mine. We hang when I’m in New York. We’re sort of on the same wave length. We like to have the same extracurricular activities when we’re not working. Eddie’s a fun loving guy, just like me.
6. You have pics up at your site from the US Festival. What was it like being in the pit Motley Crue as the newly signed local band opening the show and Van Halen in their prime?
Well when Motley played that show, they weren’t really super, gargantuan stars yet. It was 1983, and I was actually looking at some shots of Mick Mars from that a couple days ago for a guitar magazine, but uh, I thought they did a great job. The world really didn’t have anything like Motley Crue in 1983 or "Shout At The Devil." So they came up there, if I remember, they did a really short set, it was maybe half an hour, 40 minutes. They came on in the middle of the daytime. It was probably 11, 12 O’ Clock. You know, fucking kick ass show. I mean, Motley was great. That whole particular day, I was actually there for three whole days. I was there the first day, which I think was New Wave day. I can’t remember. Flock Of Seagulls, shit like that, which was cool at the time. That type of sound was pretty big. But I’m a hard rocker. Give me some AC/DC Bon Scott, give me old Deep Purple Ian Gillan or even David Coverdale. But you know, give me Van Halen David Lee Roth. That was the shit. From 78 to 84, I think Van Halen was the number 1 rock band in the world, as far as I’m concerned. We had the Scorpions, we had Judas Priest, but Priest was already big in the U.K. and they really didn’t his the U.S. till a little bit later than 83. Ozzy was tooling around, but Van Halen was the shit. They were the number 1 band as far as I’m concerned.
And shooting them at the US Festival, that was an interesting experience too. I mean, I loved it. I was on an ego ramp and I was the only photographer allowed to shoot where I was. No one else could shoot where I was. And it was a pretty interesting experience. I think the band had better shows than that particular show, but there was what, 300,000 people there. It was a fucking zoo.
7. We’re gonna give you 3 samples of lyrics from songs by artists that you have photographed. Name the song and the artist? No cheating either.
"I grab my hat and I grab my shoes, tonight I’m gonna hit the streets and cruise."
Jim Bob: Do you remember the song?
Yeah, uh (hums along) "I Want Action, Tonight!"
"Yeah so you heard the news, she’s gonna light the fuse, she’s bad so get ready to play."
Don’t know what that one is.
Jim Bob: Not at all?
Jim Bob: It’s "Nasty, Nasty" from Black N Blue.
I love Black N Blue. Give me the lyrics again?
(Jim Bob sings the lyrics again)
Are you sure that’s "Nasty, Nasty?"
Jim Bob: I’m pretty sure it is.
(Neil sings) I wanna tell you all a story. (Neil goes on to sing half the 1st verse.)I can’t picture that, maybe it’s the chorus.
Jim Bob: It’s the first line of the 2nd verse, I think.
I love Black N Blue. "In Heat" and "Nasty, Nasty," those two albums are fucking incredible, if you ask me. So I’m disappointed if I got that wrong! I’m going to have to go listen to that. I can’t picture those words. You heard me recite most of the beginning.
"You try not to love me don’t wanna let it show, your mama was right when she told you I’m double bad."
The way you’re saying it doesn’t help me much! Say that one again.
(Jim Bob repeat the line)
You know what, I can’t picture that one either.
Jim Bob:It’s Sweat F.A.
You know what, I think I shot…well two things. Guys were killer, loved them. I shot one of their album covers but I don’t know any of their songs. That one’s not that easy, you know! That was a toughie, and the Black N Blue, I should have known that, but I still can’t picture those lyrics for Black N Blue, but the Sweet F.A. I wouldn’t have known. I like those lyrics though, I have the CD at home. Maybe I should put it on for the first time of my life.
8. You did an interview with DLRARMY and said, "It was the most fun time of my life. I’ve been on tour with bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Ratt – as far as I’m concerned Van Halen put them all to shame, as far as girls and good times." Please give us a few samples of what really went on and how VH put the others to shame?
Well they just knew how to take things….I mean Poison was great. There were tons of girls there and stuff like that. Motley obviously was great. Nikki was one of my best friends back in the 80s. So we used to hang a lot. But with the Van Halen guys, everybody had their own unique personality. Eddie was one type of person, Michael was one type of person, Alex was one type, and Dave. So you know, I used to really hang more with Alex back in those days. Alex was a pretty interesting guy. Me and Al had a lot of fun together.
Dave was always busy after the shows. Dave was always with the hottest chicks, you know. He was a pussy magnet. The chicks just used to flock to him. He had the hottest blondes, or the fucking most best bodies, shit like that. So he got the cream of the crop.
Eddie was a little shyer, but you know Eddie used to do his thing. We all liked drinking and doing "whatever" but me and Al used to go out looking for chicks the most. We used to get pretty sick. We used to do some pretty sick shit. I don’t want to go into explicit details but Michael was pretty tame. Michael was married. He’s been with the same girl for a while. Me and Michael used to just drink Jack all the time. Michael wasn’t really going out for the chicks because he had his wonderful wife Sue at home, who’s a sweetheart. So he was a good boy, but me and Al, boy, we used to….the bus would roll into town and back in those days there always used to be a group of kids hanging at the hotel and shit. Me and Al, the first thing was, we had to look for the hottest chicks or whatever, "hey, you guys got a car?" "Yeah." "Drive us to the liquor store." We were drinking Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull back then.
Jim Bob: (sounds like he wants to vomit)
Yeah, it was pretty rank, but again, I haven’t come that far away. My favorite beer of choice is Mickey’s Big Mouth, which I’ve been drinking for 25, 30 years now. And that’s malt liquor too. The Schlitz shit tasted like shit, you know? I mean, I can drink anything. Heineken, Corona, which I think….we won’t even go into my Corona story. Anyway, me and Al, we had some good times. I won’t go into the sick detail of things, I’ll save that for my book. You have to buy the book to check out the sickness.
9. Is there any band you haven’t photographed that you would love to work with?
Not really. Like I said, whether it’s……I mean I love working with David Lee Roth and I think I got a shoot next Monday with him. Dave is just the ultimate, professional person I have ever worked with. He’s creative, he’s a genius. Me and him are like family. He always takes care of me. When I go do photo shoots at Dave’s house, there’s always a case of Mickey’s for me. And whether it’s me or anybody else, I mean Dave’s just….he’ll have a spread. He’s a professional. He does everything….on a 1 to 10, Dave does everything on a 15 as far as I’m concerned.
10. Which do you prefer and why?
Nikkon or Cannon = I’m a Nikkon man, by far.
PCs or Macs = I’m a PC guy.
Bill Lonero or Steve Vai = well they’re both friends of mine, I mean, you know, yougot the music level and then you got the personal level. I’ve known Vai since 1986. I was just on the phone with him a few days ago and Bill’s a friend of mine who lives up in San Jose who actually madepoints with me because the first time I ever hooked up with Bill he brought me down 80 oysters from my favorite oyster bar in San Jose. So he knew how to jerk me off pretty good and get to my good side real quickly. But just curiously, why are you bringing up Bill Lonero?
Jim Bob: I don’t know. It was just on the list.
Ok, well Bill’s a good friend of mine and Steve’s like an old buddy of mine. And you know, I like ‘em both. I won’t say….now if you’re asking me musically, no offense to you guys but I probably don’t listen to either of you because I need music with vocals. And I even told Vai a week ago, he’s like, "I don’t think you even listen to my stuff." And I’m like, "Steve, I need to hear vocals when I listen to music. I can only hear so much guitar without vocals." So, I do like to hear a good singer.Staples or OfficeMax = I go to Staples.
Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone = For what? I mean, you know what, I loved Gary Cherone in Extreme and I like Sammy Hagar when he was doing "Three Lock Box" and "Trans-Am" and "Red" and "Rock Candy" and all that. I didn’t like either of them in Van Halen to be honest with you. They’re both great singers. Gary’s one of the nicest people I ever met in my life. He’s a great guy, but it wasn’t Van Halen. David Lee Roth is Van Halen, period. No if, ands, or buts.
The Sopranos or Six Feet Under = Uh, never heard of Six Feet Under and I’ve never watched one episode of The Sopranos. I don’t watch much on TV other than motorcycle racing, car racing, the news, and the Food Channel. I love the Food Channel.
Jim Bob: The Iron Chef rocks!
I love the Iron Chef.
Hair of the Dog or Laidlaw = You guys are really butting me against my friends. Well, two things, the first Laidlaw album smokes! I think it’s called "First Big Picnic." I liked that album. It was with a different singer. They now have a new singer and the music is a little more tame, it’s a little more polished. I like things nasty and raw. I think Tommy, the first singer, was a little nastier and a little raw. One of my best friends is Craig DeFalco, he’s in Laidlaw. We’re old friends. He used to be Michael Anthony’s bass tech, so I love them. And then we’ll get to Hair Of The Dog. I love all the guys in Hair Of The Dog. I mean they went through a few drummers but their last drummer Dupke, and then we got Boot, Boot was in the band, and one of my best friends is Ryan Cook, who was the singer/guitar player. And then the original guitar player John Sepetys, he came down with a little hand disease and had to give up playing guitar. He now lives in Nashville and he works with his sister Ruta who’s Steve Vai’s manager. They also manage a guitarist named Eric Sardinas, which if you said to me, "Neil, you can go see anybody you want right now, no matter who it is. Led Zeppelin or whatever." Other than probably the Rolling Stones, I’d tell you Eric Sardinas. If you people get a chance to go see Eric Sardinas, go fucking see Eric Sardinas. That guy fucking shreds on guitar. He’s amazing. (Neil gets another call)Hold on one second. (Jim Bob gets put on hold) Hey, that was one of my bestfriends in the world, Mike Matijevic. You guys know who that is, from Steelheart. He was the singer in the movie "Rock Star." He did the vocals for Mark Walhberg. Mike’s probably the best singer in the fucking world as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know anybody with a voice like his. If Van Halen can’t get Dave back, they should get Mike Matijevic singing for them. That would be the fucking perfect match. Anyway, so Hair Of The Dog/Laidlaw, I couldn’t really pit ‘em. Hair Of The Dog is broken up, Laidlaw is still around or going to release another album, which is done by this killer producer named Brian Dobbs. I like all the guys in the both bands and sometimes to me, that’s more important than the music, how people are on a personal level.
Kodak or Fuji = Uh, I use ‘em both to be honest with you. I use different film for different effects and so on. I would probably say in this day and age for my studio work, I use more Kodak than Fuji.
Ratt with Pearcy or Ratt with Jizzy =I’ve got some problems with Jizzy, some personal problems. And actually, I saw Stephen Pearcy’s band last night at the Viper Room opening up for Metal Shop, and I was very impressed with Stephen’s band. Stephen was looking great, his voice sounded great. Stephen lost a lot of weight. The band sounded really good. I actually went up to Stephen after the show and said, "dude, good set man. I was really impressed." As a matter of fact, I am going to call him up later today and talk to him because I was really, really, impressed with Stephen’s band. I haven’t seen Ratt for a while but I basically will not work with Ratt right now. I have, like I said, some problems with Jizzy. And Warren, who is one of my best friends in the world, and I love Bobby, I love Warren. John Corabi used to live 4 doors up the street from me and I love John. And then we have Robbie Crane, who I’ve known since the Poison days, he used to be Bobby Dall’s bass tech. So I love all those guys on a personal level, I just won’t work with them while Jizzy’s in the band.
Hydroquinone or phenidone = I don’t even know what that shit is! Sounds like some antidepressants, so if I need an antidepressant, I’ll just drink a couple of Mickey’s Big Mouths, that works for me.
11. Do you have photo groupies?
Well, you mean girls that will come suck my dick cause I’m Neil Zlozower? Or do you mean people who call me up all the time and wanna know how to do this or how to do that or can they come in and watch me shoot and shit like that.
Jim Bob: Probably the former. That’s more interesting.
Well, you know……like I said, I’m 48 years old, I won’t say that I have girls that just want to come and hang with me cause I’m a rock photographer or whatever I’m labeled as. I mean, I love girls, thank God I love girls in this town Los Angeles, but, I don’t know, maybe I do. Hey, you girls out there, come on, give me a call or whatever. I’m getting a divorce. I’m free and available.
12. Spending all those years in Hollywood, what bands do feel should’ve been much bigger and who really surprised you with their success?
Well a lot of the bands I thought were going to be big, I sorta think I’m pretty good at calling bands. I called Van Halen. The trick when you’re a photographer is to try to catch bands when they are nobodies. You know, once they are big, every parasite, maggot, leech is going to come out of the wood work and wanna work with ya. So, you know, I called Van Halen, I called Ratt, I called Motley, I called Poison, I called Guns N Roses. All those bands when I first heard them I said, "man these guys are going to be big." And they all were. Some of them for a longer period than others, but they are were. I really love Black N Blue, you know. I thought "In Heat" and "Nasty, Nasty" were great albums. There were a lot of bands I liked back in the old days. (a cat meows in the background) There was this Japanese band called EZO that I thought was phernominal. The lead singer, Masaki, he could barely speak English, but you listen to his voice and you’re like, "oh my God, this is coming out of a Japanese guy?" He can’t even speak English. I actually tried to hook Masaki up with a couple of big bands that were looking for singers but I loved EZO. Last night I was just listening to a band called Tora Tora. I actually had to go on the internet and find "Wild In America." I have the first CD which is great..
Jim Bob:Surprise Attack.
Surprise Attack. But I think their big song was "Walking Shoes" which was a killer song and their 2nd CD was good. And they were really young. They were like 19, 20, 21, but I really liked Tora Tora. Who else did I like? I liked the band Dirty Looks. Their first CD was brilliant. I loved Ratt back in those days. I listend to a lot of Ratt. Went to Japan with them twice. The Ratt guys were a tight unit.(cat meows again)They were a great band when it was the original band with Stephen singing and so on. But, I’m trying to think. Those are some of the bands…I love AC/DC with Bon, Deep Purple is always a great band with Ian Gillan or David Coverdale but right now my favorite performer is Eric Sardinas. I gotta tell you guys. I can’t talk enough about the guy. I just think he smokes. If you want to see a great performer, go see Eric Sardinas.(That’s Eric to the right)
13. The Last of Neil Zlozower:
Last concert you attended = it was last night if you want to call it a concert. It was Metal Shop and the Stephen Pearcy band.
Last band you photographed = it probably wasn’t more than a week ago and I don’t even remember…..it could have been….I have to go look in the computer.(laughs and starts looking for the info) Another band I really like is Mother Superior, which is Henry Rollins back up band. I really like them a lot. You know what, probably the last band I could have shot would have been, it was either Eric Sardinas album shoot last week or it was shooting a band called Chevelle. Not Chevelle, I take that band, Palo Alto. So yeah, actually it would have been Eric Sardinas shoot, that was last Monday I shot it. It was a long, painful shoot and I half to finish the shoot tomorrow. I love Eric’s playing, he’s a little painful sometimes to deal with on a photo level, but I guess the guy is a primadonna perfectionist, you know…..by the way, another guy I like working with is Zakk Wylde. Love Zakk Wylde. He’s the craziest motherfucker in the world. Me and Zakk, shit, I got kicked out of Crazy Girls one time with Zakk. I don’t remember being there, but I do remember a bouncer with his arm on my left wrist, a bouncer with his arm on my right wrist, going, "ok buddy, I think it’s time for you to leave now." And I don’t know what I did wrong! Next thing I know they’re throwing me out of Crazy Girls. But of course I was hanging with Zakk having a couple drinks too many. I just did Zakk’s next album shoot too, his last photo shoot. But anyway, Palo Alto was the last band I shot. The last session I did.
Last time you did drugs with a rock star = a rock star. Do you want to know who or how long ago it was?
Jim Bob: Probably both.
Well I don’t know if I’ll tell ya who…does alcohol count as a drug, or no?
Jim Bob: I don’t think so.
I didn’t think so either. Lets just answer that as too many brain cells ago. Can’t really remember to be honest with you. I’m not a big druggie in my golden age, so I couldn’t tell you when that would have been. Probably by myself, to be honest with you.
Last interview you did = Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, last interview I did was probably a couple weeks ago for the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation. They contacted me and they wanted to bring this opera singer to America to toughen up his image. And they brought this guy Russell, I’m not sure his last name, and they brought him over here and they had a film crew at my studio filming me shooting him. We had a make up girl, we had a clothing designer. So the BBC interviewed me and wanted to know sort of the history of "Zlozower." But I sorta do interviews on a regular basis every few months. People contact me, "can we interview you?" Sure, whatever, part of a days work. Like writing a check or doing an invoice, doing an interview, I guess.
Last celebrity you had dinner with = uh, well what’s a celebrity? Uh, well Eric Sardinas is coming over tomorrow night after his photo shoot to eat oysters on the half shell, which I love. But that last one I had dinner would probably be my friend Craig from Laidlaw, if you want to call him a celebrity. People tell me that I’m a bigger celebrity than people I know but as far as I’m concerned, I’m just a scummy little photographer who shoots rock n roll bands.
Last piece of photographic equipment you purchased = you know what, I pretty much have everything I need. I don’t really buy anything anymore. The Nikkons I use are 20+ years old. Most of the sessions I do are with a 6 x 7 Mamiya RZ67, but uh…I don’t know, it was maybe it was a soft box. A little small soft box because my other one bit the dust. But that probably has to be 5, 6 months ago. I don’t really use it that often. I don’t really buy that much photo equipment. I’ve been shootingphotos for so long I pretty much have everything I need at my fingertips. There’s nothing that I go out and go, "I need this, lets go buy it." I have all the lenses I need, I have all the cameras. I usually just buy film and Polaroid film and do my shoots, there’s nothing that I really need.
Last Web site you visited = probably Half.com maybe, looking for some CDs that are no longer in print that I needed to get. Hold on a second, I’m going to Netscape right now….actually the last website I went to was probably the FedEx website. I’m pretty much at the FedEx website every day, every other day. That’s probably the last thing I went to.
Last porno you watched = the name of it, or the manufacture of it, or what?
Jim Bob: The name, I suppose.
That would take too much attention. A friend of mine works at Vivid and he just gave me 30 porno DVDs. And I have this photos shoot with this porno chick, Tabitha Stevens, this coming Friday, and she gave me one of her videos which is pretty fucking smoking, to say the least. Unfortunately, the one she gave me sort of jams up somewhere through the program so you can’t really watch the whole thing. At certain points it just sorta locks up, you know? Which is too bad, honestly, because her video is pretty fucking smoking. And she’s pretty smoking too. I’m looking forward to working with her on Friday.
Last time you visited Pittsburgh, PA = uhhh, I don’t know. It’s a pretty depressing town to be honest with you. I can’t remember. You know, I’ve been to more cities in the United States and I’ve probably forgotten 80% of them. The one place I always remember is Texas though. To me, Texas has the best pussy in the world. The fucking chicks are beautiful in Texas. I was actually just there last week in Dallas, but it was just in and out to shoot Sheryl Crow’s guitars. Not even Sheryl Crow, just her guitars. I didn’t really see any hots chicks on that trip, but I wasn’t there long enough. But I love Texas. I’ve been all over it. In fact, one of my favorite tours that I ever went on was with Black N Blue in Texas. We weren’t in Dallas or Houston, we were in like hell hole places. Like Corpus Christi, I think it was McCowan, maybe San Antonio. We weren’t in a tour bus, we were in like an 8 seater moving van type of thing. It was probably one of my favorite road trips I ever took with any band. Black N Blue going through Texas, we have a great time. That was the original Black N Blue band. I think Woop was still in the band because he left the band shortly after and they got another guitarist, but that was one of my fondest memories, being on tour with Black N Blue in Texas in a little 8 seater. You know, I’ve stayed in Four Seasons, which I love and I’ve stayed in the littlest piece of shit hotels and all I need is a toliet, a remote control for the TV, and a telephone. I don’t really need all the luxury. Tour buses are great, but I’ll make the most of whatever it is I have to work with.
Last time you got arrested = That was in 76. Yeah, I’ve been a good boy for a long time. I got busted twice in two weeks. Back then I was on the highway to hell. Popping a lot of Quaaludes and shit. Flipping cars upside down in the city streets of Palm Springs. Getting thrown in jail on PCH with this chick that I was dying to fucking squeeze. I finally looking for a romantic hotel room on PCH, never quite made it there. Lights came on, they threw me in jail. When I got out of jail, I took that chick to Palm Springs to squeeze her. Probably the worst squeeze of my whole life. It was like dead fucking tuna fish. She just laid there. And I like to think I’m pretty good so…..for all the work of getting thrown in jail and shit it was the worst squeeze.
14. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Smack in the mouth….uh, I’ll have to think about that. There’s a lot of ‘em with big mouths. Well, fuck. I don’t know. I get along with everybody. People rag on Axl, I always got along great with Axl. People rag on Kevin DuBrow, I wasl got along great with Kevin DuBrow. You know, I can hang with the worst of the worst and the best of the best. I seem to get along with everybody. There’s no one that I really hate, to be honest with ya, that drives me crazy. Like I said, me and Jizzy Pearl don’t see eye to eye and I’ll never work with him again. We’ve had our little problems and because of that I’ll never work with Jizzy Pearl. But I can’t think of anyone who truly deserves a smack in the mouth, you know?
15. Yes or No, has Neil Zlozower ever done the following:
Used a disposable camera = a disposable underwater camera to shoot pictures of my kid in the swimming pool. You develop the film and throw it away after, so I guess I’ll say yes.
Watched an episode of "The Surreal Life" = I don’t even know what that is. Oh wait, is that the one with Vince and fucking…
Jim Bob: Corey Feldman?
Yeah. I saw the very first one of that and that was it. So I guess the answer to that is yes, I did watch the first episode.
Visited the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame = In Cleveland?
Jim Bob: yes sir.
I haven’t been there.
Took nude photos of an underaged girl = that’s a good question. If I did, I didn’t know she was underage. But then again, I’m not a big…I’ve never been one, at least when it has to do with me, I never ask people for ID. When I used to go out and get trim for band members, the first question would be, "how old are you?" I’ve never had any age barriers myself. I don’t know if I shot photos of underage girls. I’ve shot one or two photos of naked girls in my day.
Gone to rehab = never
Shoplifted a candy bar = uh, not in my older age, and I don’t know if I’d say a candy bar, but I have shoplifted in my youth.
Fucked another guy’s girlfriend = you know what, that’s one of my biggest no-no’s in life. Well, another guy, or a friend of mine?
Jim Bob: I don’t know, could be another guy. It could be...
Well, yeah, I’m sure I’ve nailed another guy’s girlfriend. One of my biggest mottos in life is "never fucked one of your friends girlfriends." So I don’t think I’ve ever fucked one of my friend’s girlfriends, at least when they’ve been with my friend. Maybe when they broke up I have. But yeah, I’m sure I’ve nailed some guy’s girlfriend before. I probably didn’t know the guy. It was probably backstage or on tour or something like that. So I am sure I’ve nailed another guy’s girlfriend.
Woke up in a puddle of your own piss = when I was a little kid.
Prank called someone while pretending to be David Lee Roth = never
Been naked in public = uh, I’ve been known to whip my dick out in public here and there if I’ve been with a hot chick and sort of whip it out under the sushi bar. But no, I have not been stone, butt fucking naked out in public.
16. Is it easier to get paid by a record label, a magazine, or the band directly? And how do they differ?
Well, I think at this point in my career everybody wants to stay on my good side, so uh, it depends on who you are talking about. I’ve had problems with band people paying me. I’ve had problems with all of them. The record company people usually just pay you but they have a convenient way of losing your invoice, so you have to pester them for a while. Other companies, like Epic, Sony, used to in their heyday, take 90 days to pay you. Fortunately, my business is good enough that I have a good enough cash flow, I don’t have to call up the record companies. But I know some photographers that shoot jobs and they’ll be calling up the record companies the next day going, "can I come down and get my check?" I never do that shit. Like I said, I just invoice ya, and when it comes it comes. So….it’s funny. They all have their own good points and bad points. I usually don’t really have a problem getting paid from anybody. You don’t want Neil Zlozower going to David Lee Roth going, "yeah, I worked for that fucking asshole"….not Dave, but whoever I’m mentioning their name to, "that fucking guy is trying to stiff me." The last rock star that tried to stiff me who was a prominent singer in a big band, who I worked with since they were basically nobody, he tried to pull a fast one on me and he owed me $2,000 legitimately. This was a friend of mine that I worked with before they were ever huge. They became a multi-platinum band. He tried to stiff me out of $2,000 and I basically said "fuck you" and took him to court. We settled out of court for $19,500. They guy only owed me $2,000. But he tried to fuck me. You don’t fuck Zlozower, ok? He got fucked as far as I’m concerned. I talked to his other 3 bandmates, one of them is a friend of mine and we actually go on motorcycle rides together, who wised up and finally got ride of his Harley shit and got like a real bike, an English bike, and I’m really into motorcycles. But I’m not a big Harley guy. Anyway, the guy tried to fuck me, owed me $2,000, and settled out of court for $19,500. Why didn’t the fucking idiot just pay me the $2,000 he owed me? He said he was going to pay it, he just never did. But everybody’s got problems. Trying to get money out of Gene Simmons? Oh boy! That’s something I don’t want to do.
NOTE: The guy who Zloz is talking about had a birthday last weekend and turned 40. He always has a bad wig and it’s not Kevin DuBrow or Don Dokken.
17. Of all the bands you’ve worked with over the years, aside from the guys who have become more like friends, who was great to work with and who were the dicks?
Well, you know, David Lee Roth, one of my all time favorite people to work with. I love working with Steve Vai. Michael Anthony is fucking great. I love Michael Anthony from Van Halen. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Slash. Slash is just incredible. I love working with Slash. He’s just fucking great, you know. Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers is also great to work with. Chad’s sort of like family. And Mike Tramp of White Lion, Freak of Nature, and on and on and on. Mike’s one of those people I go out of my way to help whenever I can.
Dicks. Lets see, dicks. Um, people, if you say who’s been an asshole to you and treated you like shit? That doesn’t really work because with me, you don’t treat me like shit. I’ll go, "dude, get the fuck out of here right now. Who the fuck do you fucking think you are?" Whether it’s, whoever it is. I mean, even Guns N Roses, the first time I shot them before I knew any of ‘em. I sorta knew Slash because he came to my house one day before Guns was ever big, but they came in and had a little attitude. But with the photographer, you main goal is to try and work together and you’re all there for one thing…get great photos! So no one is really going to be a dick towards me and I’m not going to be a dick towards anybody. I mean, I’ll treat whether it’s David Lee Roth, I’ll treat him the same as Eric Sardinas or whoever. I don’t treat Gene and Paul any different than I treat you, you know? Everybody to me is just another human being. I don’t care how fucking big you are or how much money you got, it doesn’t mean shit to me. I don’t fucking care, you know? They’re just people. It’s when you lose track of reality and you get into your fantasy world and think, "I’m a big rock star. Everybody loves me." That might be the case for a while, but even the biggest dinosaurs fall by the wayside when their heyday is up. So no ones really a dick. I remember the first time I shot Alice In Chains. They came in and they were a little goofy and weird to work with. But that way a whole new age. But, you know, no ones really been dicks to me. There is no one I can rag on. I’m the type of guy that gets along with everybody. But never cross my fucking path because if you do, I’ll come down hard on you.
18. Which is more embarrassing, having your name in the credits of a Warrant album or having your name in the credits of the movie "Rock Star?"
I don’t even know if my name was in the credits of the movie "Rock Star." I saw the movie. I thought it was a fucking piece of shit. I basically couldn’t sit through the whole movie. And I hated seeing my shit because that’s when I had my "JewFro" going for the hairdo. Now I have the greasy beaner look going. So, you know, Warrant, hey, I love those guys. Turner and Dixon and Jani and Joey Allen, who was the first guitarist in the band. I still call those guys, so there’s nothing embarrassing about having your name as a photographer or a special thanks from any band. Whether it’s Poison or Warrant. I mean Warrant sold millions of records. In their day, they were a big force to be dealt with. I had a lot of fun on tour with Warrant. I think the only time I ever went on tour and shared a hotel room with anybody, it was when me and Joey were in Fargo, North Dakota, and Bismarck, North Dakota. And I actually shared a room with Joey because he was one of my best pals. So me and him shared a room in the middle of fucking nowhere! We were there for a weekend. Had a great time. So I’m not embarrassed having my name in too many places.
19. You did the photography for David Lee Roth’s "No Holds Bar-B-Que." Dude, can you explain what that was all about and how much blow was used on the set?
Well, pretty much, it started out to be a photo shoot that Dave had with a concept, and I actually think the thing, as far as I know, I mean you never know what’s going on in Dave’s mind. Dave is a genius as far as I’m concerned. So, Dave’s mind thinks unlike any other person’s mind I know. So, it started off, we had a meeting, me and a guy named Ron Volts who used to work on a lot of the old Van Halen videos, and he was sort of like a set designer, and Dave came up with this thing and he was basically going to "rip off some ideas from some Mad Magazine covers," ok? And so, you know, we had a meeting at Dave’s house and Dave’s got this huge mansion in Pasadena, and he’s got a tennis court there, and he actually imported something like 200 tons of sand from the beaches down around San Onofre on the west coast of California, like this perfect virgin sand, because it’s sort of right near a nuclear reactor, so a lot of people don’t go on the beach there, and he has the sand brought down to his tennis court and had it dumped there. So, you know, we’re having this meeting at Dave’s, it was like being on the beach in the middle of Pasadena, all this perfect virgin sand and, uh, Dave ran by some concepts and ideas he had for this photo shoot and at the time, I don’t know what was going on with him and Van Halen. They were trying to get together, and I guess things just didn’t work out. So Dave, being the genius he is and knowing the marketing strategy of being an amazing publicist, he wanted to keep in the limelight. Dave likes to keep in the limelight. He doesn’t want to disappear from, you know, the entertainment world. So, he figured we would do these photo shoots. There would be Playboy Playmates, there would be my friend Jimmy Briscoe, he’s a little short person you know. He’s been in a lot of different things with Van Halen throughout the years. Jimmy’s a great guy. There was a bouncer named Animal, he was this big, probably – at the time – 350 lb. black dude that Dave probably met when he was the doorman at Crazy Girls. So, Dave just got all these misfits and outcasts, which is the David Lee Roth style, and he put them all together for a photo shoot. And when we did the photo shoot, he had a couple of people that he worked with throughout the years who just came down with sort of like a handheld video camera and sort of documented the photo shoot. So I guess when, you know, after the photo shoot, he loved the photos that I did. I guess he saw the footage that these people sort of amateurishly shot. No lights, you know, just really raw video footage. And he decided that the photos were so good, and the video footage was so good, that now he was going to do another photo shoot, but it was going to be bigger and more grandiose, you know. But for this one, he didn’t have the raw video. He actually hired a more professional video camera guy named Vlosco, I think his name was. And then they had lighting crews, sound crews, and instead of just the little video camera with the built-in mike and no lighting, actually lit it and the sets got more grand and everything. So we did about four of these, and each one got bigger, and bigger, and more involved, and more involved, and they were all done at Dave’s house in Pasadena. And by the time we got done with the last one, the last one was just like, oh my God! They turned this basement into a maze with all these yellow things, and they turned the swimming pool into this underground tunnel. I mean it probably took two weeks to set up the very last shoot. He probably had people working round the clock to get it perfect. So what started off as like a photo shoot just with me and Dave and a one guy handheld video camera turned into this big production with probably 30 different people down there, and you know, we had the Dahm triplets, and we had Karen McDougal, who was Playmate of the Year 1999 or 2000, who was just an absolute sweetheart, plus she’s hotter than shit, you know. There was another girl, Victoria, who was a Playboy Playmate, who’s like a really well-known Playmate, and just… I mean, Dave had these catering spreads there and, I mean it was just amazing. It must’ve cost Dave a fortune. And so he put this video together. You know, I guess they called it… well, we called it "Mojo Go-go," but I guess the official name was "Dave’s No Holds Bar-B-Que." And it was basically Dave letting his brain run free. That is about the closest interpretation of Dave’s brain as anything I’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s basically, David Lee Roth, you know, no holds barred, doing anything went, the sickest shit. You know, there was a lot of alcohol there. I really didn’t see much drugs. I’m sure they were there. I think I may have done a couple of… whatever, here and there. But, you know, they were pretty professional days. You really couldn’t be too fried and work on those sets, because we had time scheduled. But by the end of the day, by the time I went home, I was probably pretty drunk, except I had to drive from Pasadena home, so I only got *so* drunk. But I think the video’s brilliant. If you want an insight into how David Lee Roth’s brain works, this is about the closest thing you’ll ever come to.
Jim Bob: Right-on.
Which basically makes no sense at all. It’s just a hodge-podged mish-mosh, but I think it’s brilliant. You know. I think it’s incredible.
20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name and you give us your thoughts.
Vince Neil = I really can’t say much positive about Vince these days other than I’ve known him a long time and I love the guy.
Robbin Crosby = dear friend, sadly missed, tragic ending to a great friend of mine’s life.
Axl Rose = needs to come back down to Earth.
Ralph Saenz = just saw him last night. Great entertainer, closest looking human being I’ve ever seen that looks like David Lee Roth.
Sebastian Bach = crazy, wild, 15 year old kid.
Kevin DuBrow = big mouth but I love Kevin.
Steve Vai = love Steve Vai. Great friend, talented guitarist. Very unique human being.
Rikki Rockett = uh, uh, has great taste in motorcycles.
Gerri Miller = old friend of mine. Needs to eat some meat.
Alice Cooper = talented, smart, long enduring innovator.
Zakk Wylde = named my kid after Zakk Wylde. Crazy motherfucker. I love the guy.
Jani Lane = talented singer, great songwriter, always makes me smile when I see him biting his fingernails.
David Lee Roth = To me, the greatest entertainer that ever lived. My favorite human being to work with. My favorite rock star to work with out of my whole career.
Much Sludge Love goes out to Zloz for having a good time and doing our 20 Questions. And of course, props to Jim Bob Dwarf for pulling off another great 20 Questions!
For more info on Zloz and to see some of his photos, you can go to www.Zloz.com.