On metal, hard rock and Neil Zlozower

Anyone who grew up a fan of metal and hard rock in the ’70’s and ’80’s should know the name Neil Zlozower, and if you don’t, you certainly know his photography. 

That’s because it was all over every metal magazine, month after month, year after year. 

Of course, if you’re a Van Halen fan you absolutely know his work, because he shot the band from 1978 to 1984, was considered “the fifth member” of the band, and had more extraordinary access to them than any other shooter.


I’ve often said that what makes Neil’s work great is he’s a real rock n’ roll personality. He not only loves the music, but lives it, and having a great eye and technical know-how is great for photography, but attitude, especially with rock and roll is crucial.

Zlozower, or “Zloz” as he’s often nicknamed, has been urged by many, including myself, to do a book of his best photography, and once he put out his first photo book, Van Halen: A Visual History 1978-1984, in 2007 through Chronicle, he obviously got the bug and kept crankin’ ’em out.

Subsequent books include Motley Crue: A Visual History, F*ck You, a photo compilation of musicians flipping the camera the bird; Six-String Heroes, a compilation of great guitar players; and now his latest book, Eddie Van Halen, focusing solely on Ed the guitar god.

Along with Zlozower’s incredible lenswork are interviews with many insiders who worked with these musicians, and many of them have never gone on the record about working with these bands with anyone else other than Zloz. 

The late, great rock photographer Jim Marshall, who was one of Zloz’s mentors, put out a photo book called Trust, and a lot of it is required for a band to let shooters into their world.

Now Zlozower is sharing the great work he’s built through decades of trust with these musicians, and if you’re a fan of great rock photography, these books are a must.