I was at work Friday night when my mom called from the beach at Cape Cod, to ask me about DJ AM. She said he was dead and I spent 5 minutes explaining the plane crash with Travis and the fact he survived. As I was speaking to her I googled him. And was shocked. I didn’t know him, or really even follow him, but the more I read, the more intrigued I became. The guy was clearly in recovery, for a period of time, but more importantly understood the idea of “you can’t keep it unless you give it away.”
The closest I came to meeting him was at last year’s Philly DJ Day, but days after the plane crash, he was obviously not able to make it, but his presence was felt and a show of love was made by many rocking DJ AM t-shirts.
Here’s Pase Rock and DJ AM practicing, AM with an il strings section:
I started writing a piece I may shop around (about addiction and perceived hypocrisy), but in the meantime, I read two heartfelt tributes to him. One is from Dante Ross, the other from Paul Rosenberg. I have been a fan of Dante’s for a minute (and occasionally hit him up when I’m in one of my “track down Bonz Malone” moods) and I wondered about how Adam was connected to Em’s manager (when I saw a pic of AM signing paperwork in Paul’s office).
Adam Goldsteins passing seems to me at this point surreal like a slow motion dream of sorts. Not really sure what to make of it. I didn’t know Adam all that well but what I did know was that he was a sweetheart of a man who always had a hug and a smile and a kind word or two when we crossed paths. He helped a bunch of people I know get and stay clean and sober which I highly respected. He was also the best technical DJ I have ever seen hands down. He once DJayed Bill Spectors and my birthday 5 years ago and played the greatest Dante Ross set I have ever heard which might have been the highlight of a very uneven birthday. I was always psyched at how far he had taken the craft of DJaying, how far he had come as a artist and how well he handled himself. I dug how his sobriety was part of his being and seemingly was some of the inspiration for his DJaying prowess.
Whether or not you dug his style of DJaying, pre Serato he helped pioneer a genre of DJaying that is prevalent to this day. Post serato he was on steroids. The guy was a musical genius and he hooked up a lot of his fellow DJ brethren. He was a rock star as a DJ sans the attitude and ensemble cast. He was in actuality really down to earth no matter who he was seen in People magazine with. He was consistent something I value highly and something you don’t see that often. We all know his triumphant tale of redemption, his surviving a tragic plane crash last year that killed 4 people and his battle with weight etc,etc. He overcame all that and more and that’s why this loss is that much harder to stomach.
He was a good man end of story.
His loss is really tragic and unfortunately the media’s gonna turn it into some sensational baloney by the looks of it. He was cool with all DJays of merit from the big to the small and I literally saw him propel a few friends careers a few times. He was always supportive of the homies. I don’t think I ever heard him say a bad word about anybody. I always dug how selfless this was considering the cut throat world of DJ politics. He was for all purpose and measure the DJays DJay. No one could ever front on his skill level love or hate his selection and crowd. He also had a amazing sneaker game right up there with Emz, Bobbito and people like Ben Baller. Besides all that he was a really good dude, a true BBoy at heart, a culuralist and a progressive thinker as a musician. He will be missed immensely by his friends, his family and by people that didn’t know him at all ,people who met him once, who just heard him spin for a few minutes and DJays everywhere even if they don’t know it.
He also just plain shredded.
Adam you were loved and you will be missed. Thanks for the memories you were one of the greatest who ever did it!
As I compose this post, I’ll admit that I’m still probably in a bit of shock and/or denial about what happened. Maybe it’s because of just that- I don’t really know what happened. I can’t really comprehend it. It doesn’t compute. It doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t seem possible.
I first met Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein through mutual friends some time in the early 2000’s. I’d heard tales of how incredible he was on the turntables from Shecky. Alchemist and Neil told me about their boy, “AMG” (as he was known then) and what a great talent he was. First time I heard him actually play I think was when we (via Chris Clancy) hired him to spin at the LA record release event for The Eminem Show. Coincidentally, this was also the first night that Marshall and I met 50 Cent. I loved AM’s set, and told him how glad I was that he was killing it. I’d see Adam out and about here and there, and would come to his various gigs in Vegas when I could. We developed a friendship, and eventually I became his co-manager with L.V. some time in 2006.
There’s a few artists that I’ve worked with over the years that I really believe posses an element of magic. I can’t really explain it precisely, but the best way I can put it is that there are times, even to this day, where I hear Eminem rap and I say to myself “how the FUCK did he do that?”- even after all these years. Travis Barker does the same thing on drums- I still stand there in awe when he plays his solos, even when I’m behind the curtain helping set it up. AM had the same ability. It was truly a magical event when he was going-off in the club, everyone that has witnessed it knows what I mean. He was blessed with a gift to take records, mix and scratch them together, and ultimately make something out of them like nobody else can. And there was no explanation for how he did it time after time… it was truly extraordinary. High art. Genius. Science. MAGIC. I often joke with my partner L.V. that we manage the best rapper (Eminem), the best drummer (Travis Barker) and the best club D.J. (A.M.)… how do we top ourselves?
I never knew Adam when he was using. I met him, in his “heavier” days still, when he had about 5 years of sobriety under his belt. I heard horror stories from various friends about A.M. when he was a crackhead, never leaving his room except for when he had to go do his $200 deejay gigs. But the guy I knew was very different. A.M. was vigilante in his sobriety. He would talk about how important it was to him constantly. He’s attend meetings in whatever city he was in while travelling to maintain himself. Also, literally almost everyone I know in Los Angeles knows someone or had heard about someone or was someone that A.M. helped get sober (or at least he tried to). He would accept the challenge whenever it was requested of him: “no problem, just have them call me”. People he didn’t know, or people he had never heard of. He just wanted to help them, because he was so grateful for his sobriety that he constantly wanted to spread the gift. Adam never asked for anything in return, he simply wanted to help. It was his kind way.
AM had a encyclopedic knowledge of music. He cherished it and worshipped his favorite artists and their records. He was particularly fond of late ’80s and early-to-mid ’90’s hip-hop. He loved ’80s pop. He really liked big ’90s rock hits. He was super-into Daft Punk and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. His tastes were hyper-eclectic. And this is what you heard every time he spun, a mix of the brightest and best of his and everyone elses favorites put together in a way that almost seemed like a celebration of the best records blended into one long song. And he did it all with a smile, humility and energy that can’t be matched.
Last year after AM and Travis were in that horrible accident, AM always was mindful of staying sober and not slipping up. We even partnered with MTV to produce a television series with AM where he would do just that- help people get sober. He was open and honest about his addiction, and whenever he would struggle with it he would talk to his friends and family constantly about it. I remember him recently telling us that his hands were shaking in fear and nervousness after he entered a corner store in Hartford, CT to purchase drug paraphernalia as part of the show in order to demonstrate how prevalent the problem was. But he broke the glass stem and moved on, never giving in to his fight for sobriety.
Being sober was who Adam was. He spent the better part nightly of the past 10+ years working in clubs, temptation in his face each night, never to stray nor swerve off of his clean path. I’d heard him talk about drugs, about how much he liked them, how much he hated them and about how much he feared them. I’m not exaggerating when I say that out of everyone I know, he is one of the last people I would have ever expected to pass away the way he did. To say he will be missed is an understatement I can’t even begin to describe. Maybe one day this will make some sort of sense. Until then, I’ll cherish my memories of AM the DJ and Adam my friend. With love, forever.