Sunday, August 30, 2009

Go D.J., That's My D.J. (A.D.A.M.)


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.

19 comments:

Jonathan said...

AMEN!

mishy said...

My heart goes out to Adam and his family and loved ones for the profound loss we have all suffered. As a fellow addict, parting the way he did makes no sense, yet makes absolute sense, and is such a terrible tragedy. I didn't know Adam, but I admired him and the kind of person he was and the art he made. I know this is the last way he would have ever wanted to go and unfortunately he will be remembered by many as the tragic guy who overcame so much and accidentally overdosed with that one little relapse. We never expect this to happen to us, but it can and it will. RIP Adam. Your impact was felt by many and you will always be remembered.

star padilla said...

beautiful- I didn't have the opportunity to know him on a personal basis. But did meet with him numerous times via work/media and he was quite the character and passionate individual. I still can't wrap my head around what has happened, but I send my deepest condolences to his family and close friends, as we've lost an amazing guy who will never be forgotten.

Moe said...

Such an unfortunate tragedy. Thanks for sharing that story.

Rest In Peace AM.

DJ M-A-C said...

wow man, that was an amazing post. thank you for sharing that. he will truly be missed. personally, am was the only influence in my life to start dj'ing, nobody can do it like him and i am beyond fortunate to see him live numerous times.

Dino said...

Godspeed DJAM

David said...

Paul. I am a man of many words but have so few right now that can express how i really feel. You brought Adam into my life threw an unusual set of circumstances. He, as you said, without knowing me well, took his time to save my life. Thanks you for bringing him into my life and he will be in my heart and thoughts forever,

Brooksie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shannon said...

Adam was the only DJ knew in my clubbing days back in the late 90's/early 2000s. He was at every popular club making the best music. I have such great memories and his music fills each one. He was also my friend's roommate and another friend's boyfriend, so I knew him a little more than just a DJ back in the day. He was just a nice guy who was easy to chill with and made awesome music.
Even tho I was more of a friend thru friends, the news of his death makes me very sad. His music contributed to many great memories in the LA and LV clubs. He will be missed by many.

Laura D said...

What a wonderful tribute, Paul. I struggle with an addictive personality daily, and there but for the grace of God go I. Sobriety is a moment to moment struggle and I mourn Adam's loss in one moment of weakness.

Angela said...

Beautiful tribute to a great soul who will be sorely missed. My daughter knew him personally and I know what a terrific guy he was; down to earth and giving. My heart goes to him and his family; may you rest in peace knowing that you are loved and respected by so many.

ELYESKOBAR said...

thanks paul. everyone writing about adam is really helping me get through this. check out my blog, there are a couple pictures up that might make you smile.
eli

Tania Miron said...

that post it's great i could feel all the emotions in your words Paul, i'm still in shock for Adam's death really i can't believe it yet, that was a terrible lost, but he was a genious here in Mexico he wasn't known a lot but i'm really glad that god let me meet him

my heart goes out to his family an people who love him!

Tania

Genny74 said...

That was a very heartfelt tribute to a man that was obviously a very dear friend. I am sorry for your loss and appreciate you sharing your story. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP

CanuckKid said...

Great post, always nice to read from the perspective of someone who knew the person in a situation like this rather than some BS TMZ story.

Marla said...

Paul, this is a really beautiful tribute. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts; it must have been an incredibly difficult thing to write. It gave those of us on the outside who've been saddened by the news a more clear view of who he was and why he was so loved. Thank you.

I'm terribly sorry you lost your friend. You're in my thoughts.

(It's been a very long time, and I'm not sure you remember me: I lived next door to your brother at State and you and I waited tables together all those hundreds of years ago back in Detroit. Congratulations on all your success, and again, my condolences on the loss of your friend. Please take care.)

The_Aitch said...

Wow, that was wonderful and beautifully said. I'm sure your friend Adam is looking down on you and smiling.
Rest in Peace DJ AM.

nick teli said...

god bless the dead

r i p /// am

Nate said...

DJ AM, to me, was the new age Jam Master Jay. The way he could blend and mash music together, along with his scratching, and his huge catalog of songs, encompassed everything I love about music. His shows were the greatest live performance out there.

You definitely managed the best, Paul. I'm sorry for your loss, but at least you, unlike me, had the privilege of knowing Adam for who he really was. I wish I could take back the few times we crossed paths and at least have had the courage to say "what up" to him and thank him for inspiring me and for his many contributions to the soundtrack of my life. And I know I'm probably not the only one who feels this way.

Thank you so much for the memories, Adam. R.I.P. Gone, but never forgotten.

Best of luck through the tough times, Paul.