Award Winner Rock Photographer – 2007 Hollywood FAME Awards
VH1 – Behind The Music – 1998 (TV)
VH1 – Mötley Crüe – 1998 (TV)
ROCKSTAR: 2001 (movie)
GUNS N’ ROSES – 2007 (TV)
VH1 – REINVENTING BONADUCE – 2009 (TV)
and many more
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — In the rock n’ roll business for more than 40 years, photographer Neil Zlozower has watched more than his fair share of rising stars from behind the camera.
Having spent time with the likes of Motley Crue, Ratt and Van Halen, as they made their way to the top of the charts, “Zloz” got to know the behind-the-music business of rock long before VH1. Beginning his career as a glorified fan, Zlozower has gone on to become one of the most sought-after photographers in the biz.
Talking rock n’ roll with Zloz is like discussing tan lines with Hugh Hefner or escort services with Charlie Sheen. During the course of this conversation Zloz was bombarded with calls concerning a magazine cover featuring Korn that he’d just taken for a guitar magazine, an assignment that will have him shooting Alice Cooper for his latest, a producer from VH1 regarding a “Behind the Music” special on Bon Jovi and a call from one of the guys in Laidlaw.
Obviously being a rock n’ roll photographer keeps him busy, but being “Zloz” is a full-time job. He shoots who he digs, so working with Zloz is not just working with a pro, it’s an official rock n’ roll endorsement. In his own way, he’s become as much of a Hollywood legend as the bands he’s worked with.
Zloz took a few minutes out of his busy day to sit down with the DLR Army and talk shop. From MTV to Van Halen’s early days on the Sunset Strip, Zloz pulls no punches.
DLR ARMY: So how did you get started in this business?
ZLOZ: ” I used to take the bus up to Hollywood Boulevard and the highlight would be going to this English record shop called Lewin’s Record Paradise on Hollywood and Wilcox Boulevards.”
“My father took me to a pawn shop in East L.A. and bought a Honeywell Pentax H3V. I was already going to concerts and started bringing my camera along with me.”
“They didn’t have the big, fat bouncers then so you could just buy cheap seats and walk to the front. We used to make these phony backstage passes and we’d show them to the ‘venue ushers’ and we’d sit there all night and shoot photos just for fun.”
“Then I started selling them at a record shop across from my high school. I got 60 cents and the owner got 40 cents. In a month’s time I got $35 for doing that. That was sort of the beginning.”
DLR ARMY: Do you remember the first time you heard Van Halen?
ZLOZ: “I was working with some other photographers, I was in the office one day in 1978 and I heard (mimicking the intro to “Runnin’ With the Devil”) ‘neaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar… bomp, bomp, bomp’ and I was like ‘What the fuck is this? This is fuckin’ bad ass!’”
“Back in 1978, don’t forget, we were dealing with Donna Summer, Village People, Bee Gees, all that crap. I hated that shit. Zloz has always been a hard rockin’ type of guy. I heard ‘You Really Got Me’ and I was blown away. I said I’ve got to work with these guys.”
“My philosophy about working with bands has always been that you’ve got to work with them while they’re young, because by the time they get big everybody wants to work with them. That first VH album just blew me away. That’s fuckin’ rock n’ roll history as far as I’m concerned.”
DLR ARMY: Being a homeboy, you must have had the chance to catch VH at The Whiskey or one of the other local bars?
ZLOZ: “I remember seeing them at a club called the Starwood once. One of my girlfriends was like ‘You’ve got to see this band Van Halen, they’re so good!’ She used to work at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and they were the house band. I remember going to the Starwood in like 1977, which was in the ‘Quaalude Days.’ I think I probably took a couple of quaaludes and fell asleep during the set and woke up going ‘… that band… wasn’t sooo fucking…. good…’ I don’t even remember seeing the show.”