In our very first interview on the podcast we are interviewing world famous rock photographer Neil Zlozower! He's interviewed every famous rock star in the world from the golden period of rock (in our opinion), covering GN'R, Motley Crue, Van Halen, Aerosmith and more!
Check out a documentary about Neil here:
In this episode we talk about:
- Neil's sex, drugs, and rock and roll days with Motley Crue, Ratt, Van Halen and more
- Tips on how to create amazing art when sober!
- How photography has changed from analog to digital
Here are some photos that we said we would share!
Kiki: So we are here with Neil Zlozower, he's legendary and he has been one of our great friends in the band since the dawn of time, from my music existed.
Neil: Before you were even in it.
Kaila: Before Kat was even there I knew you.
Neil: I remember I met you on Myspace, she fell for my little thing.
Kaila: Wait, what's your little thing?
Neil: Well I used to go on there and look at all of the hot Asian girls, and I had this thing save, and it say "hi thanks for being my new friend, hey you are pretty hot". Well I'm a photographer and I shoot rock and roll and if I can make them look good I can make you look good, do mind if we work together sometime? I send it out to all of the hot Asian girls and she was one of the ones that fell for it. A lot of them did but I still remember the photos, one of those one with the silver backdrop where you were on your hands and knees.
Kaila: We will pull that up for their show notes.
Neil: And I saw the one where you had clothes on, but then I saw some later where you sort of not wearing any clothes.
Kaila: I did my little Playboy things.
Neil: Well we are going to edit this so you can cut that out.
Kaila: No that's okay, we are fully exposed to it.
Neil: So we were together, I remember the roof and the purple hair and you were doing this. I love all of that stuff.
Kaila: So do I, I am going to add it down there in the show notes so that you can see.
Neil: And actually that phone call that I was just talking about, that was the value that I had after the value basically. He took the Roadrunner to a store in 2011 and I still don't have it back.
Kaila: So we wanted to bring you onto the podcast obviously, because you are the world's most famous Rock photographer, shooting all of my favorite Idols, which is Motley Crue and Guns and Roses.
Neil: I didn't know that you liked those bands?
Kaila: Yes, that's how me and Cat bonded at first because we didn't really have that much in common but we loved Guns and Roses that was like our thing. So we kind of wanted to, I get for the people we know your history really well. Can you kind of fill in the audience on who you are and what you do?
Neil: My name is Neil Zlozower, hi everybody. And I have been a Rock photographer for the music industry. I basically started as a glorified fan, you know going to concert and bringing my camera, which you could legally do back in the Hay Day and didn't have the big fat [2:32]. And you know I built a portfolio and then I started shooting photo with a friend of mine Todd and we built a new portfolio and Todd, believe it or not I was actually really young. I was really shy and I couldn't get [2:50] photos, and I couldn't look people in the eye and I sort of thought, I mean we are these 14 and 15-year-old kids dealing with these grown-ups and they aren't taking us serious, so I was sort of like.
Kaila: What happened?
Neil: I don't know what happened, so I don't know. Put it this way, the music industry, you either get tough fast or they will chew you up and spit you out. So I mean I could deal with anybody right now in the world. I can deal with the President Trump - that would be sort of ugly because I would be bagging and ragging on him, but I could deal with anybody and not having a problem thrashing anybody, or I can be the nicest guy in the world or I can be the biggest dick in the world because some people deserve it.
Kiki: Absolutely, well we know you as the nicest guy in the world.
Kaila: Yes, and he pretends to be a badass, but really he's a big pussycat. He pretends to be purvey but he's actually safe it's just all an act.
Neil: Wait until the camera is off.
Kaila: So how did you get in there and started shooting some of these Legends?
Kiki: Well basically I was shooting Led Zeppelin in the 70s and the Rolling Stones in 72 and 75. But I guess people considered my first break was Van Halen 78, because the first time I heard him I am like wow this guy is - can we use bad language?
Kiki: Oh yes.
Neil: I mean this band is fucking great I have never heard of anything like that. And then 78 we were coming off like Village People, Donna Summers [4:23] Saturday Night Fever and that was the Disco era, and then Van Halen came and conquered the world. And being a good rock photographer, besides being a photographer, is trying to take the bands when they were young and no one likes them.
Because once they get big, all of the photographers, the parasite maggots sponge reach photographer come out of the woodwork and everybody wants to work with you. So you are trying to get them in the bottom. I have got Ted Newton before he was anything, Aerosmith when he was nothing, Guns and Roses Ratt Poison and Van Halen. I like working with the bad boys, I mean I shot sticks and journey and [5:05] but I like hanging with the bad boys.
Kaila: So how did you hang with the bad boys, like did you go off into like a drug-addicted bender, or did you kind of, you seem to have handled yourself pretty well?
Neil: Well yes I handle it. I mean you know like Clint says, a man has got to know his limitations. But no matter how drunk I got the night, or how many chicks I banged the night before, or that morning or that afternoon or whatever drugs I did. I made that for that 2 hours I needed to work in the night time I was capable of functioning and giving it 110%.
Kaila: Now what did you see from some of the people that you work with where they are always on set high or drunk and how is that managing?
Neil: On the contrary I wasn't with, I mean some of them I was with a lot. Like I went to Japan with Ratt twice, and you know we had fun [6:01] during the day.
Kaila: Yes, I was reading the biography and it was suddenly like the lead singer rap, and then he was like I was talking about Neil and I was like hey.
Neil: I taught them a few things all of those boys, they like hanging with me for other reasons other than my photographs, but you know we would have fun - Poison or Ratt or Motley Crew, I mean Nikki back in 83, 84 and 85 [6:30] they were like my closest friends. So we went to Club together and cause chaos and havoc all over the Island. I think they closed that club down after we were there.
Kaila: I imagine, that's insane.
Neil: I bet you can't imagine. He could probably imagine but you can't.
Kaila: So have you had a lot of friends I guess transition from being partying to being sober, and how has that been?
Neil: Yes, a lot, I mean people like Slash who used to do every drug you could imagine, smoke cigarettes and drink and everything, he's all straight now. I mean I guess at a point when we get at a certain age.
Kaila: It's not cute anymore.
Neil: Well I don't know if it's not cute, some people can't handle it. I can still handle it but I am dumped, because I've got diagnosed with prostate cancer a couple years ago. So I stopped eating red meat and I stopped drinking Captain Morgan and I stopped drinking vodka, I don't think nothing's wrong with pussycat but we don't do that too. So I drink red wine because the skin of the red grapes are supposed to add something call [7:47] or something like that it's supposed to be good for you, but I used to like Chardonnay, now if I have a glass of chardonnay it taste terrible. But you know I have a lot of friends that used to be druggies, and some smoke pot and others do a lot of blow, some of them did heroin or whatever, but I mean some of them still do - but in general when you get to our age and it's like you have got to tone down. Like my friends Zakk Wylde says, father death is closing in on all of us.
Kiki: And did you ever find like. So the creative process with a lot of these musicians, they sort of like harnessed all of their creativity and a lot of weed or alcohol. So did you ever find like in some rock stars, like do they lost their creativity after getting sober?
Neil: Well not really, but the thing with rock bands what I found out like before you make it big, whether it's Ratt or Poison or Motley.They are all living in a one room apartment, they are the best of friends and they are happy eating Taco Bell and [8:57] because that's all they can afford and they are all boning the same chick and they are all the best friends right and they have no money, but they are the best friends. And as soon as the band start making money it's like okay there is all of this animosity and jealousy.
So this guy goes out and buys a Lexus - so Steve just buy a Lexus so I have got to go out and buy a Mercedes, and he buys a Mercedes so this guy has got to go out and buy a Ferrari, or hey look at my girlfriend she's got a size 36 rat. So he has got to go and buy his chick size 38 rat and he's one better. So that's what I find really wrecked the band's more, but in the beginning you are together for years struggling and that's when you are hungry, that's when you write the most brutal vicious music.
And then after you start making it and you get comfortable and you buy your big houses, and your tax man says you'll need all of these [9:53] and stuff like that. So they lose sort of the edge and the hunger, and that to me is what sort of wreck the creativity. I mean you take somebody like Tom Petty, who in the beginning I loved Tom and towards - I mean the last time I saw Tom it was 82 or 83, after that I sort of lost the edge a little bit.
A lot of bands are like that whether it was the Stones, you know when I was young and the Stones could do no wrong, and the older they got they just, you know after the [10:20] album which came out in the 80s it was like no one wants to hear a new Rolling Stone album, or Led Zeppelin album or whatever. They are like the first Guns and Roses [10:30] for destruction that was brutal, and then the second came out use your illusion [10:35] is playing pianos and it's so easy and Mr. Brownstone and all of that stuff, so that's what I find more than the drugs.
Kaila: So I like that because it's more of the passion rather than depending on the substance. And I feel like a lot of musician may kind of confused the passion with the drug fueling.
Neil: Well you know when it comes to live, like here you are and you're going to go out and play for 18 thousand people. Okay I need a drink first or whatever, or I need to hit some pot or whatever. I need to do a couple wines and blow. I mean I used to sit at home and I would be working late at night time, and I would be working, and I was like these two cups of wines that will make me work more. And I do a couple of wines and I couldn't concentrate. The only thing I want to do when I did blow was bone chicks, that's all I wanted to do.
Kaila: I never want to work on coke. I don't understand how anybody does anything on it, like I have no desire to perform.
Neil: Well you know it's funny, because I would be back in the 70s we were setting these little things called the Bullet. It was like a little Vibes as you go, and they had this little thing that you would turn. So you turn it upside down. So my favorite thing to do before like a Van Halen show or something, is to be in the photo pit, and you know you have got a barricade here and here is the stage and the stage is a side.
But right here no one can see me, so I will just kneel down and that would be like three and three [12:20] and I used to love that, I can always work two photos [unclear]. I see people shooting a picture and it's like one two three, and it's like it jars the whole camera when they are just shaking it. [12:36] normally shooting photo so I can always function and work good. And I used to like and drunk, and doing whatever before I go to work.
But maybe listening to the music help, because with me it's like if you said Neil, you can give up the Dog RV but you would have to give up listening to music ever again. That's an easy no-brainer I would give up the Dog RV in a second, I mean I don't even really enjoy shooting photos anymore. Being a photographer is the most worst way, unappreciative pathetic occupation in the world. Honestly, I very rarely shoot photos anymore.
I have done it for 50 years I don't need to do it anymore [13:20] but you see back in the days, people had to hire real photographer who know what they were doing, because we would charge the client back for the filming processing. And that was about $30 a roll, and there was either 10 shots on the roll - big shots or 36 small ones.
So if I shot 10 rolls of big ones that would be three hundred bucks, and that's more like a hundred shots. And if I shot 10 rolls in 35 mm that's 360 shots, but you know not all of them are good. And nowadays you buy a 64 gigabyte memory card, you can shoot 20,000 photos, and nowadays people are like this, click, click, click.
So some of them will be doing this and they have like 10 chance, and it's like Joe don't you see that you have 10 chances, you know like slash has. Oh Neil we will just get rid of that in Photoshop, or look at the outdoors and a block away there is a tree coming out of their heads and it's like don't you see that tree coming out of Kiki's head.
So there is no attention to detail anymore, you don't shoot a great photo now, you create an image. You take the head on this shoulder and put it here, and then you take the sky from this shot and put it - and it's just I want to do that you know I grew up in a thing where it was appreciative to be a photographer but in [14:45] it's meaningless now.
Kiki: I think that's fascinating, because I mean I would never consider myself a photographer but we do it for our work, and I am dealing with all of this stuff all of the time. And I think it's so fascinating to have like this pressure of getting, you've got 10 shots and you have no - other than the shot that you are taking is what you get, and then you are able to create these iconic images that are like forever going to be in the Holy Grail of rock photography.
Neil: Well the funny thing is I hate social media. I only go on social media to look on the photos of the hot chicks I know like you and Kaila. And it's funny because I look at the photos that you do and I look at her photos. I went to Kaila and I'm like Kaila who shoot your photos? And she goes well I shoot most of them, I'm like oh my God they are fantastic and your photos are fantastic too.
And she told me they are all selfie, she put the camera and then she runs into this thing, and then you have got this filter and that filter, and they look amazing and I can't do that. My kid even shoot photos and I am like oh my God my kid is better than I am. And if I give any of you a real camera and say okay [15:56] look on the back and you didn't have that window to go oh it's too light we have got to get it a little darker, or it's too dark we have got to make it lighter or whatever.
Kiki: Yes, and that's crazy like adjusting like aperture and all of that. You have to know exactly what the formula is and just trust that your knowledge creates that.
Neil: Right, and that's what we had to do back in my day with the film because there was no window, and there was no automatic to put your camera on if you didn't know, you had to know like you said aperture, which 90% of the people, if I said what's an aperture? I don't know is it a kitchen utensil, you know they wouldn't even know what it is.
Kiki: It's though I mean we have the utmost respect.
Neil: Well who shoot your photos, you?
Kiki: I do a lot of the selfies, I do a lot of the tripod and I make my boyfriend take photos, he just presses the button.
Neil: By the way that's a little piece of shit, the tripod.
Kaila: It was $60.
Neil: If I cut the cheese right now that thing would probably shake. You need a tripod that if you are outdoors and the winds blowing.
Kaila: Okay we need to talk about that.
Neil: You need to spend like two or three for a really good tripod, that thing is like - it's not a good tripod, but for you maybe good enough but you know a professional it would never be easy.
Kiki: So I have a question for somebody who has problems with drugs and alcohol. But like if you are in that situation where you are being pressured to do it, and we kind of spoke to someone earlier where it kind of helps your career by doing drugs and networking, like how would your advice to somebody to get around that?
Neil: Well the ultimate decision to put whatever drug in your mouth or whatever comes down to you. So you have got the peer pressure and you've just got to be strong enough, look everybody likes feeling good okay. So some people are stronger and some people are weaker. You know I do what I want to do, but you know some people - I mean we just had this incidence at my house, where I was walking the dog and my kid was with his girlfriend.
And I came back, it was like 8 in the morning and he's like Dad something's wrong with the Nook, and I am like what, and he goes something's wrong with the Nook, and I go what do you mean and I go into the bedroom and she's like laying in bed and she's like this, she peed in the bed and then the next thing I know I am like Nook are you okay and she like - Nook are you okay, and then she just sorts of went here and fell out of the bed onto the floor.
And so my kid is like dad I don't know what to do, and I am like what do you mean you don't know what to do get an ambulance right now. So I called the paramedics, went out to Melrose [18:46] they came so you know so she was hanging with one of her friends the night before, but he's this gay guy, who's more of a girl than you two put together twice.
And I was like Zach do you think, I want to mention any names, but do you think you have got to maybe give her something - no dad. Later he called me when she was in the hospital, he's like yes dad you were right and I said what do you mean, and he goes yes they gave her so and so, and I am like well [19:14]
Kaila: Is that secretly?
Neil: No, I mean he was getting drunk and this guy is just a mess anyway as far as I am concerned. So the ultimate decision no one forced her like take this and it will make you feel good. No one forced her to take it. So I mean peer pressure is peer pressure. You know like I said I used to be a shy and innocent kid, and now I can brutalize anybody, but you know that thing no ones forces you to do it - you make the final decision anyway.
And as far as creativity, you may like you can be all [19:50] and then the next day when you are straight or sober and you play it to someone else, but they are like dude this sucks it's fucking terrible.
Kaila: I created some things I've created, like I wrote something and they are like what the hell.
Neil: I don't know but I tell Pussycat that I like that [20:11] album.
Kiki: We were talking about that.
Neil: [20:15] doing that and that's not my kind of music but I thought it was great stuff. I thought if you got it in the right person's hands. And the funny thing is remember I sent you that thing [20:28]?
Kaila: You were really very helpful.
Neil: Well I tried and not because I like you, it's because I like the music and I thought that the band had a unique thing going, and I like the songs and I thought I mean at the time Pete like you too when we went to that thing, he was you know the thing is he just came off the Black Crowes doing them, and you know he was the manager from day one who basically created the band.
And he just had a bad experience with them, and once again that band was so wet under the ears when he found them. And Pete is a genius and he strategy and everything their whole career, and made them into huge Superstars. So that's why if anybody in this business [21:15] and that's what I brought to you guys, and he was almost ready to do some of these because he doesn't need the money, and dealing with a rock band is one big fucking headache anyway.
Kaila: There was a lot of non sobriety in the band. I wasn't completely sober and you definitely weren't.
Kiki: I was far from sober.
Neil: Are you guys completely sober now?
Neil: That sounds boring.
Kiki: It does sound boring but it can be fun.
Neil: I am okay I mean I am pretty good these days, like I only drink two glasses of wine last night [21:54] and I am probably going to drink tonight but I used to drink every night. And like they teach you in AA, one is too many and 100 is not enough. So once you had that first drink, and in a couple minutes you know I feel good let me just have one more. And then you have the next one and it's like I can have one more it's a little bit left, and then after that the third and like okay [22:17].
Kaila: Well tell us about your I guess creative process, because you didn't really depend on alcohol or drugs it just happened to be there?
Neil: No, I was really straight when I was younger. So I was a late bloomer when it comes to smoking pot and stuff. Once you discover the word of drugs you sort of get into it, but I mean my creative process as far as what shooting photos - well there really wasn't any I mean you know.
Kaila: You just had an high I'm sure because not everybody has an high.
Neil: Look whatever I do, whether it's working on cars or working on motorcycles, boning chick, cooking and shooting photos - I just want to do it as best as I can. I don't want to give it 50% or 75%, and being a photographer the biggest downfall now for photographers is they think being a successful photographer is shooting photos 100% of the time and shooting great photos.
But I tell them that's the mini scale part, because everybody in this day and age, the cameras are, they aren't foolproof they are idiot proof. Anybody who owns it can shoot a really good photo. So I tell them the most important thing about being a succeeding photographer, is being a great business person. That's the best thing, and that was even.
You know I read my [23:49] and Buddha books and everything and they talk about athletes or actors or whatever, and it's not necessarily your athletic ability or their acting ability. It's their drive to succeed and be on top of the world and be the best. I mean when I was younger I remember, you know I wanted to be the best rock and roll photographer in the world, and there used to be this magazine called Cream back in the 80s, and every year they used to have a pole best.
Studio ragamese live ragamese, producer and best live show, the best this and the best that, and one year I won the best rock photographer, but those magazines were all pieces of shit anyway, but back then it meant a lot. Now I call it shit parader or metal edge, [24:36] don't get me wrong I made a lot of money from those magazines, and back then you know everybody those were the ones, but now that I look at those magazines they were all like - hey fuck you know if I have one next to my toilet and I ran out of toilet paper, I can probably pull out a piece and wipe my ass with it.
I mean no offense to all of you guys for all of those magazines in your days. I mean they meant a lot though because that's what the kids read, and here's Jon Bon Jovi and here's Bret Michaels and here is Nikki Sixx, and you know they would hang them on their walls, and that's what I used to do with my Rolling Stones photos.
Before I was a photographer I go buy magazines back in the 60s. I would look at the shot of Keith Richards and I would look at Brian Jones and I look at Mick Jagger - it was on my bedroom wall
Kiki: I love that your creative process is giving everything your all, and I think that's a really good cut and dry way to express your creativity, because a lot of people are like I need to be high, or I need to be stone or I need to like - you know I need to like get one with my creativeness, and there are a lot of people like that.
Neil: That's all bulshit as far as I am concerned, I mean you have to know your training and you have to know your medium, which is your camera and what it can do and how it functions. I mean there is some photographers, I mean big photographers that makes $50,000 a shoot. Not many in this day and age, and as a matter of fact I don't even know any.
And I won't mention any names, but those people they have like 20 assistants around, you know wiping their ass and blowing their nose. Loading their cameras and putting in digital cord and moving a lot. And then they just came and push the button they don't do anything, I don't even know if those people - if you told them to do a shoot on their own, I don't know if they would be capable of doing it.
And one of those photographers who was one of the well-known name. That person did shoot great photos, even though that was one of the people that I'm talking about that had ten or twenty assistance. That person was such a bad business person that they eventually ended up owing 10,13 or 15 million dollars, and they had to put up their whole photographic archive as collateral.
Kiki: No way that's so brutal.
Neil: And to give you one more Hint, it was a girl too. So yes they didn't really - so getting back though you had to be a great businessman, [27:04] photographers having people answering their phone and writing their cheques and doing their invoices for them. I do it all myself, you know I brought my own invoices and at any given time I can go well yes this guy still hasn't paid me yet. I have got the invoice this person and I have got to go and clean the bathroom of my studio or whatever. So I do it all myself so I have control on my business and I know every aspect of my business.
Kiki: And do you think like that control meant like very, very direct and focused attitude that you have kind of kept you out of getting in the ditch with alcohol and being around the party scenes and stuff?
Neil: Well I was around the party scenes and everything, I mean I have been in jail a few times I am no angel - I am no angel Kaila, but I don't think I have ever been to the point where I couldn't shoot photos, and it was so fucked up and I couldn't focus, or I just couldn't load my cameras. The funny thing is I will have dreams now that I am in a concert and I go to load my camera and I don't have the right film.
Or one day I remember in my dream I picked up my camera and the whole bottom fell out, and my camera fell into mud. I have those dreams where like I can't upload my camera, or the wrong film or something - or I go to a show and I can't get in because I don't have the photo pass and you guys didn't leave it.
Those are the nightmares too they are just like, it's just like in my dream I am like oh I don't have the right film, I only have like 20 film and I need 35 of those camera, but I have never gotten to the point I think where I couldn't function properly in shooting photos. I have gotten to the point where I couldn't function properly but it's just not while I was working.
Kiki: I see because I think that's another thing that happens with a lot of Alcoholics or any type of like people addicted to substances, is that they have a functioning lifestyle. So that was me, like I was able to function, but then I would go and just drink and drink and drink and still show up and like never not showed up. Kaila was like that too we both just show up we are always there. Having like the functioning alcoholic or the functioning drug user kind of is like an interesting place, because then there is no justification as to why that person who may be seriously hurt by it would stop. Although you are okay, but like for me I was in that place and I didn't know.
Neil: Well it's funny, like I know some people who starts drinking when they wake up [29:38]. But I have never had that desire, I mean the worst I ever got was at lunch time at my studio, there is a little mama and papa liquor store next to my studio. And then I used to go there at like noon, I'd go and get a Mickey's big mouth and drink, which is malt liquor beer [29:56].
And then after the first one I say alright let's get another one. But the same thing, like some people they will stay up all night doing blow and then the next day they [30:06] or the second they wake up they can do a line of blow when they wake up.
Kaila: Well that's very controlled I could never do that.
Neil: Most people that I used to hang out with, they could do it all. And then they would want to go and call the guy at 4 in the morning and get more, but when I wake up in the morning that's the last thing in the world that I ever want to see and is blow, we call it a [30:32] so that was a word Van Halen invented in the 80s. So in 1978 when we started working with Van Halen, first we they had the word [30:41] and or blow they had the word prep.
So after a show you would be in an elevator with a bunch of people at the hotel, and you know Dave are like hey do you have any crow, have you seen mr. Crow man or do you got any [30:52] so you could say in the elevator no except you are a little [30:55] but that word spread the Motley Crue and Ratt and Poison and Quiet Ryan and all of the LA bands who were around.
Kiki: I love that, so you were like a founder of this?
Neil: Well I was and they were, but I adopted their terminology really quickly.
Kaila: I love that, there is like some people who have such good control - where like one-time Cat told me she had an ounce or an eight, what is it called?
Kiki: An 8 Ball.
Kaila: An 8 ball of coke in her freezer, and I was like what the hell, like I could never say I took it and I did it all, but like over like 2 days or something.
Neil: That's a lot in 2 days. Well what did you do sit down by yourself?
Kaila: Listen, we were at a session with 14k and Rios artist, that day I was so fucking high. And then Kiki and Jamie were still so innocent, they didn't even know drugs so I didn't tell them about it. Cat knew that I had it but she wasn't interested in doing it whatsoever. So I was just going into the bathroom and doing it, and I remember the conversation got really weird.
Kiki: I didn't know that you were hiding, I thought I had never been around you when you were high.
Kaila: I was high yes, but I was trying to hide it which isn't fun.
Neil: Doing blow in public, like I said I used to do it at the [32:22] but like I don't want to do it and go to the rainbow and be social with people and talk, because I'm always talking like this because you think your breath fucking stink, and then you get this white shit on your mouth, and your shits dripping down your throat and you can't breathe.
And if it's really bad then your nose is all clogged up and you are like. So the only thing I want to do when I am doing blow, which I don't do anymore basically because the last time I did it was 5 or 6 years ago, it was so bad that I wasn't [32:55] the one thing that I wouldn't do is bone a chick.
Kaila: Do you have a sex addiction?
Neil: I don't know; do you want to find out. But I mean no I am a bit boring in my old days, my shit still works fine though. In case in like one of the mornings and you want to give me a call, I am just right around the block Kaila, you have a boyfriend Kiki but I would want you too.
Kiki: I have a friend actually that I told her that we knew you and she freaked out, like she's a huge fan of yours by the way, but we will talk about her after.
Kaila: So we are talking about this I guess right now because it's around the holidays and people are kind of scared to get sober around the holidays, and they're worried about their creativity. So we wanted to jump in with some tips on how to be creative and sober. Do you have any, we have a couple?
Neil: Well I mean like I said, I don't think drinking or doing drugs or getting high really adds to your creativity level. Maybe in your mind when you are high you think so, but I think people really can think more clear and so on when they are sober. After you write a great song - if you want to go and drink or whatever and celebrate great, but I was fortunate, I was able to shoot photos and get high and drink and do whatever.
I didn't think it really affected me, but I mean I remember once [34:47] it was on New Year's, and he's like hey Zlozower - he goes can you get me some [34:53] and I am like a dude they don't make that stuff anymore, and I go they have Outlaw the manufacturer [35:01] you know years ago, and I go I think you can go to England and get some whatever [35:06] or Mexico and get something.
But I go why don't you Viking it and I go that's what all of my friends do, they go and Viking it. And he goes yes I want to get that tingling buzz, and then I go why don't you just do a whole bunch of blow, and he goes no I can't do that anymore [35:24] and I go well that's funny I know and he goes well dude you are super slow you can't do anything. This is Dave talking I mean I don't talk to him anymore.
Kiki: Oh why, what's the story there?
Neil: The Dave that I knew is a different person than the Dave that's on this planet now. But I am a different person than the Zlozower that he knew when we were hanging. I talked to his sister all of the time Allison who is a good friend of mine, who is quite different than her brother, but I don't know how Dave is - I don't need any communication from him. I cut people out of my life all of the time.
Kaila: Well that's one thing to do I guess when you are trying to be sober, and it's to cut out the toxic people, so that's I think is a tip. Do you meditate?
Neil: No, but I do go to the Thai temple on Sundays almost every Sunday. So I go into this little booth - they have about five Buddha on the property and there is one Buddha that I go to, I don't like those gold Buddha's they look creepy. The one that I go to is - and it's not even a Thai Buddha it's an Indian Buddha. The Thai Buddha's always had the flames coming out in the air.
So when I go there and I kneel down in front of them and I do my thing, and I wouldn't say that I meditate, but it's funny because I look at the face on these Statue and it's like looking at an old friend, because I could see him almost every weekend. And when I look at him my mind thinks things that normally I would not think of during the day.
I think about my girlfriend in Japan and I think about my old dog that died in my arms having a seizure. And I think about the good things that I have done and some of the bad things even though I am an angel. I don't do anything bad but you know there is questionable things. And then it's like when I look at him my eyes and my mind just opened up, and I am there for 5 minutes and then I bow and I put five bucks in the little box and then I'll go and eat the Thai food there and that's great.
There were these two twins there that are just insane. They were so beautiful - Bim and Beena. And Bim's got a kid named Bam and these girls are so beautiful, they don't even try, they never have makeup or anything I just look at this one and I'm like - I mean is there a problem, but the food is great there and I just, you know I ride a motorcycle there and it's a good experience for me to do that.
Kaila: Alright, that sounds kind of like meditation to me.
Neil: Meditation, I have tried it and that's where you sort of sit and you look at the tip of your nose and breathe in and breathe out, but you can't have any distractions. And you see I am really good at focusing my mind and concentrating, but you know the human mind gets so distracted. I mean what I actually try to do it - believe it or not is have mindfulness. So when I am walking from my car in the morning to my studio, I am like left right, left right and I'm breathing in and I'm breathing out, I’m breathing in and breathing.
And then sometimes even when I am just like a night going, you know walking to the bathroom or whatever and it's dark [38:57] make a right turn and the light switch and lift up the toilet and piss do whatever. And it's amazing if you do that, because in this day and age everybody tries to multitask. Even me I will from one show and we will go to a restaurant and if they have Wi-Fi I will go on my phone, but I am now on the gigabyte plan. Because everybody in this world these days is always on the phone.
They are either eating on their phone or they are texting - I mean having went through it with a friend of mine today [39:27] he's on his fucking phone and I am like Alex are you going to be on your fucking phone because I am not going to have lunch with you anymore [39:33] sitting there every minute. So now with the gigabyte plan, if I keep it under 1 GB usage a month, it's like $14 with spectrum - [00:39:70] well if you go to the gigabyte ones it's 14 but you girls could never be seen.
Kiki: Honestly I am so addicted.
Neil: It's good, I don't really use my phone that much, and I have been except for one month, under the one gigs is 14 bucks a month for my phone service.
Kiki: That's amazing. I love the mindfulness thing because that's, so we wrote about that in our book.
Kaila: Well that's like conscious meditation.
Neil: Right, I cannot really just go there and you know get into that numb spot.
Kiki: I am the same way, like I am like the mindfulness meditation, and sometimes when you bring your attention to what's real. And that's sort of like a sobriety thing as well, like a lot of the times we will try to run away from stuff and we kind of shield things and put lenses over our ourselves with alcohol, but when you are having that mindfulness in the current moment I think it's really important to experience that.
Neil: Well a lot of people listen one thing - because the books really, the one books that I read are Buddha books and Duntley [40:44] and to me the best book ever written in the history of mankind is the art of Happiness by [40:51]. And I read that book maybe seven eight or nine times, and to me just like it was at a tuna bandekar every year which you girls probably don't but you are [41:04]. So I read that book once a year and it's like getting a tune up on your mind, and your soul and your way of thinking and so on and it's really, you know people look at things for instance.
If something bad happens, most people will look at a situation from one Viewpoint with blinders on. And no matter how bad something is, like whether someone dies or you get in a car accident and you lose an arm or whatever. Like me, I had prostate cancer, well [41:36] but actually in a way it was sort of a good thing because I stopped eating sugar, which from what I understand is the worst thing in the world for the human body.
For instance, cancer feeds off sugar, so that's fuel and that's why I didn't want that donut over there. I had my friend today and we were out at lunch - he got some buchlovice and he says I knew you want some and I am like yes I want some can I have some, no. I mean I cheat sometimes with the sugar but I stop eating sugar and then I stop eating red meat.
I still eat chicken and I will eat some turkey and fish but I don't eat red meat. And I basically stopped Captain Morgan and stopped vodka, I stopped the Chardonnay and I only drink the red wine. So from having the prostate cancer there's something good came out of it. So if you open your mind and really think hard enough, like you break up with your boyfriend or you break up with your girlfriend - or my last dog died in my arms. I mean if you think hard enough you find something good that came out of any situation no matter how bad it may seem at the time.
Kaila: Do you have any last tips for people on creativity or getting sober?
Neil: Well you have just got to, and I mean I don't know if I would say. But listen I am a Buddhist so I don't believe in someone flying around in the sky looking over everybody on this planet okay. And the reason why I like the Buddhist law is because it's not a religion, because religion believe in the Judgment maker flying around the sky.
Buddhism believes that the right auction equal right effects and the wrong action wrong effect. So for instance, if I go out and drink too much tonight, you know that's a bad action and the effects going to be I am going to feel like shit tomorrow. Most religions would be like well I drink too much so I am going to be punished and I am going to feel like shit tomorrow because the Big Cheese up there saying you're a bad but it's not that.
To me you are in control of your whole destination. So I am where I am at in my life right now because all of my previous decisions and judgments. You two girls are where you are at because of your previous decisions and judgement. It's not because someone up there - some people are always like well how come I always get cheat on and I have bad luck, and everything bad happens to me and I never get a break.
It's because all of their past mistakes and bad judgment involves in bad decision. I mean everybody is born the same pretty much. Some people are born and they died 10 minutes later, and some people are born and they live 100 years old, so you really have no control. But when you are born you are basically, we are all innocent, and we sort of choose the path that we choose whether you are a murderer. I mean look at that guy Epstein who is a multi-millionaire and he hang himself in jail. And another thing, money won't buy you happiness. You can buy material stuff, and you know look I've got 25 motorcycles.
Kiki: But that's a lot of motorcycle.
Neil: Yes, but you always want what you don't have, so in January I am going to a motorcycle launch in Las Vegas and I will probably buy another one. Do I need another motorcycle, I don't even drive - well I drive all of mine, but if I drive one every Sunday, I can drive each one maybe twice a year, and that doesn't even count all of the cars that I have because I have got a lot of cars too?
Kaila: Where are these stored?
Neil: The motorcycles are at my studio. Remember that photo with you on yellow Norm with your little butt propped in the air. I remember that one it was really beautiful.
Kaila: I am going to take out these old photos, but you have some amazing photos of us.
Kiki: Oh my gosh, your photos of our band were the best photos of our band.
Neil: Actually, some of the ones in Asia were good, there is some that night, so there is one with some white curtain. And then there was one where you I did but I don't like the way pussycat looks, it was like a grey backdrop and everybody is cute and you were sitting and you look great, everybody looks good but [46:05]. And then the one shoot I did with [46:11] I don't know, the way pussycat had her hair in that one, she was all drunk in that moment. But we take good stuff, the one with the [46:19].
Kiki: That's my favorite by far.
Neil: Well I pulled out all of the stops for you girls but it's easy to make you guys look good, but honestly I like that band and I do listen to that stuff. And that's not my type of music, I don't have any other bands like that, that I listen. I thought that band could have been big with the right break, but it's not how good your band is, it's like who you know and who you blow. The music industry talents, just like the photographer, the talent run things, but I am a bit of a business person. I don't think anybody in your band was a great business person.
Kiki: We are still learning - but I have to say though, I remember you took us to Nan.
Neil: And introduce you to Steve Vai.
Kiki: Yes, that was life changing because I had again the pictures of Guitar Player magazine, and I ripped out pictures of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and I just thought you have this idea that you are never going to meet these people and you just sort of accept it, and I like almost died, I texted everywhere [47:20] I'm like wow I'm going to die.
Neil: I remember we were walking, I was walking by Steve and then I ask Steve, [47:32].
Kiki: You literally had his phone number in your phone and you are like let me call him really quick. I was like what, like you have got his phone number [47:40] but that's amazing.
Neil: I talk to Vai all of the time and he's great, and pussycat I got her bass lessons from Billy Sheehan.
Kiki: Wait, are you serious oh my God.
Neil: Well Billy was in love with her.
Kiki: Because he was in the Jeep there with him and I thought, like that was the first time I was oh my God that's the best bass player I have ever seen.
Neil: He is great; I mean that's a white bass player. Flea is great too but Flea is more fun, Billy can play Billy is a great bass player. So I remember I took pussycat, they had this thing it was called Bass Player Live at the Fonda theatre, and my friend put it on. Did I get you any Samsung, not Samsung a hard key stuff?
Neil: That's pussycat I got her [48:34]. So he puts it on and Billy was there and pussycat I don't know, one to 10 that night with about 10 zillion. So Billy got me up the next day and he was like hey Neil thanks [48:47] but he captains the show, she looked amazing that night [48:57] so she went to his house one day and I wasn't there, I didn't want to sit through some fucking bassline, and he gave her a bass lesson.
Kiki: Holy shit, that's insane wow.
Neil: Do you still play the guitar?
Kiki: I do but not nearly as much.
Neil: I can take you to Vai's house one day with me. I talked to Vai all of the time and Joe Satriani I talk to too.
Kiki: Those guys were like, even though they are, I don't know they were just so important to me playing guitar at a young age, because I was like 15 learning in my bedroom playing like 3 hours at a time, but these guys are like what made me want to be a musician, but as the time goes on now it's a lot different.
Neil: Well Steve and Joe are probably the two most versatile guitar players in the whole world. I even told Steve, I go Steve and I told him that. And I go Steve you are one of my favorite guitarist, but I know that you are probably the most versatile guitarist and that's what I tell everybody. But there is a band called Rival Sons, you should listen to them - the singer is outrageous I mean he is amazing.
And the guitarist is probably my favorite guitarist, but he's like a feeling player like Slash, but the band and the songs are amazing I mean it's really great song writing. I drove down to San Diego with pussycat. We went down to San Diego and we hang the night [50:22 there because the next time they were play at [50:24] and I hate the [unclear] I can't stand it. So we drove down there and ate at the fish market on the way down there and had oysters.
Kaila: I love oysters.
Kiki: She loves oysters.
Neil: Maybe I must invite you over one night [50:44].
Kaila: You had the blond girl who was staying over, the model.
Neil: Oh Samantha.
Kaila: Yes, Samantha.
Neil: Oh I thought you meant Dulcinea an old girlfriend.
Kiki: Dulcinea, that's a name.
Neil: Well that was my old girlfriend - well you still see the daughters all of the time, I think Dulcinea was hanging with me, the Mexican chick she's in my documentary.
Kaila: I like that name.
Neil: Yes, it's pretty. She is pretty and she looks better now than she did nine years ago when I was hanging with her. Well that's what I thought you meant, but the oysters are good. I want to come over at Kaila and eat some oysters. I will try to behave it's not a guarantee but I will try.
Kaila: So where can everyone find you?
Neil: Well first of all if you really want to see what I am about to check out my documentary, which is now on YouTube, so everybody in the world can watch it for free. It's called In Your Face, The Neil Zlozower Story. And if I do say so myself it's pretty entertaining. If people go and watch it and not burst a laugh I will give them a hundred bucks, that's how much fun it is there's some pretty funny scenes. And one of my favorite scene is the [52:16] because these girls are in my documentary. How can I have a document without Kiki and Kaila and Pussycat and [52:27] Jen wasn't in it though
Kaila: We miss Jen; she was a good audition.
Neil: She was good I like, I did a shoot with her after, but she left the band [52:33] I don't know what happen to her now.
Kiki: She's a makeup artist.
Neil: Well that means she's starving and broke, because all of the makeup artist that I know are all starving and broke.
Kaila: Everyone here is starving and broke, musician.
Neil: Well all of the photographers too. I mean all of the photographers I know, some of them are thinking about driving Uber or Lyft. I mean I think I told you, but the way I make my money now is go after all of the enfranchise who illegally use my photos, [53:01] for fifty times the amount of money, that if they call me up [53:06] 10 15 or $20,000.
Kiki: That's what's is up, this is man I am telling you that's what it is.
Neil: It's not about shooting photos anymore, all of the photographers that I know every single one starving today.
Kiki: Thanks so much for coming by. We absolutely love you and you guys tune in and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast, and we will catch you next week.
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