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DJ AM in December 2008
Background information
Birth name Adam Michael Goldstein
Also known as DJ AM
Born (1973-03-30)March 30, 1973
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died August 28, 2009(2009-08-28) (aged 36)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation(s) DJ, remixer, drummer, businessman
Instruments Turntables, drums
Associated acts TRV$DJAM, Crazy Town, Steve Aoki, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Travis Barker, Samantha Ronson, DJ Scene

DJ AM (born Adam Michael Goldstein; March 30, 1973 – August 28, 2009) was an American DJ, remixer, record producer and musician. Goldstein was a member of the rock band Crazy Town, co-owner of a management company called Deckstar and worked on albums for Papa Roach and Will Smith, among others. He was a frequent collaborator with Travis Barker of Blink-182 and appeared on several television series.

Early and personal life[edit]

Goldstein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a Jewish family.[1][2][3] As a child, he was verbally abused by his father, whom Goldstein called "unbelievably cruel." His father abused drugs and alcohol and was sent to jail for committing bank fraud and later died due to complications from AIDS.[4] Goldstein attended the elite Quaker school Friends' Central.[5] Goldstein began taking drugs, so his mother placed him in a tough love treatment center.[citation needed]

When Goldstein was 20 years old, he started deejaying, which he had been obsessed with since seeing Herbie Hancock do the song "Rockit" at the 1983 Grammy Awards. During his early 20s, Goldstein also battled a drug addiction, specifically to crack cocaine. At one point, he attempted suicide but was unsuccessful when the gun did not go off.[6] Shortly thereafter, he became sober, began attending AA meetings and dedicated himself to working as a DJ.[7] "By then, I was booking jobs at every major club and had started to gain a following," he told Glamour magazine.[8] He lost more than 60 pounds with Laparoscopic surgery, and began Deejaying for celebrity parties and night clubs.

Goldstein began dating actress Nicole Richie in 2003 and announced their engagement in February 2005.[9] However, the couple broke up in late 2006.[10] "The one thing that stands out about Adam is that I can be myself," Richie said after the breakup.[11] He was good friends with Jesse F. Keeler, Steve Aoki, Cory Kennedy, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Skillz, Samantha Ronson, John Mayer, Scott Caan, and Travis Barker.[12]


DJ AM was an avid "sneakerhead" posting on sneaker enthusiast message board and also one-third member of notorious world renowned sneaker crew "AMC" Air Mack'$ Crew with other sneakerhead members DJ Homicide & DJ Ben Baller who collected athletic shoes, primarily Nikes. His collection of over 900 shoes included a pair of Nike Dunk SB shoes that were created specifically for him, with his DJ AM logo appearing on the shoe itself. In a commercial, he starred alongside Mike Epps and Kobe Bryant sporting the Nike Air Yeezy, the signature shoe for Kanye West.[13]


Goldstein in February 2007

Goldstein's stage name, "DJ AM" stands for his first and middle names, Adam Michael. He was a member of the rap/rock group Crazy Town (but not on 2001's No. 1 hit "Butterfly", the group's only Hot 100 entry). He had also scratched on albums for Papa Roach, Madonna, Will Smith and Shifty, and played concerts with Jay-Z. He had played private events for celebrities like Jim Carrey, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Stiller, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Aguilera, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Kate Hudson.[14] He had a one-year contract with Las Vegas's Pure Nightclub inside Caesar's Palace to play at the venue every Friday.

He collaborated with Travis Barker of Blink-182 and +44 in several performances, including the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that DJ AM would make his first appearance with Travis Barker since the two survived a plane crash. The duo performed at New Year's Nation's Los Angeles 2008 New Year's Eve Party at The Wiltern. Their performance was streamed live on the Internet via New Year's Nation's official site, and was broadcast at other New Year's Nation parties across the U.S.[15][16] Before the gig Barker told press, "I'm ready to get back onstage with AM and continue to rock the house. I'm very excited to bring in the New Year in my hometown of L.A."[17]

His reality television appearances include Punk'd, where his former fiancée, Nicole Richie, was the subject of a practical joke, and the third season of The Simple Life. Goldstein appears as himself in the "What About Bob?" episode of Entourage's third season; he gets the last pair of an exclusive line of shoes, right before Vince (Adrian Grenier) and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) arrive. He also appeared as a guest DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He finished filming a reality show for MTV which aired in 2009, called Gone Too Far, in which he and concerned families staged interventions for drug abusers.[18] Eight episodes of Gone Too Far had been shot before his body was discovered on August 28.[19] The show's original premiere date was October 5, 2009. Before he died, Goldstein reportedly told his addiction-program sponsor that he would return to rehab.[20] MTV decided to air his show after much controversy. "It is our hope through airing this show that people will get to see the side of Adam that we knew and loved. The decision to air the show has been difficult, but we do this with the profound belief that it will inspire others to seek help," his family said in a statement posted on[21] Trailer was released in early October and the show premiered on October 12, 2009.[22]

Goldstein in June 2009

He also appeared in a documentary, Downtown Calling narrated by Debbie Harry.[23] He was also a co-owner of the popular club LAX. In 2009, DJ AM became Rain Nightclub's regular Friday night DJ at the Rain Nightclub in the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas.[24] He had a record deal with Interscope and had partnered with Travis Barker (Blink 182) to perform a live DJing/drumming set. TRVSDJAM performed about once a month at sponsored events, clubs and concerts. Their act involved mixing live drum beats to scratched records, as they performed side by side.[25]

DJ AM had evolved into a prominent brand. He co-owned a management company called Deckstar with Steve Aoki along with their managers and Paul Rosenberg. He was the music director for the website T-Mobile/sidekick also created a limited edition sidekick featuring him and the artwork of tattoo artist Mr. Cartoon. Soon after his death, he was the subject of a joke in South Park's episode "Dead Celebrities", along with other celebrities that died in the summer of 2009. Earlier in 2009 Goldstein was involved with Activision’s DJ Hero game. Activision’s vice president of music affairs Tim Riley said in a statement: “We hope that his work on the game will be a fitting tribute to his creative spirit and musical talent.”[26] He won "DJ of the Year" award at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards.[27]

Goldstein filmed a cameo for the 2010 film Iron Man 2 two months before his death, appearing as himself DJing Tony Stark's birthday party. The film is dedicated in his memory.[28]

Plane crash[edit]

On September 19, 2008, after having performed at a college event with frequent collaborator Travis Barker, Goldstein was seriously injured when a Learjet in which he was traveling crashed on takeoff in Columbia, South Carolina. The crash killed both crew members and two other passengers, and critically injured Goldstein and Barker.[29] They were both transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, and were both listed in critical condition.[30] According to reports, Goldstein suffered burns on his hands and parts of his head. His ex-girlfriend, singer Mandy Moore, with whom he was still close, flew to be by his side at the Georgia hospital where he was staying.[31][32] Goldstein was released from the hospital on September 26, 2008, a spokeswoman told AP.[33]

In December 2008, Goldstein filed a civil lawsuit against the plane's charter company, Learjet and Goodyear tires; the suit claims negligence on the part of the pilots and a manufacturing defect on the part of the plane. Goldstein was asking for damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement and loss of earnings.[34] Goldstein was the last passenger to file a civil suit; the estates of deceased passengers Chris Baker and Charles Still had already filed suits, as had crash survivor Travis Barker.[35][36]


Goldstein was found dead in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009, from an apparent drug overdose.[37][38] Drug paraphernalia, including a crack pipe and a bag of crack cocaine, were found in the apartment.[39][40] The New York medical examiner subsequently determined that Goldstein's death was an accident caused by an "acute intoxication" from a combination of cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, diphenhydramine and levamisole (a drug used to cut cocaine).[41][42][43]

After a memorial service, Goldstein was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles on September 2, 2009.[44] The following day, a memorial was held at the Hollywood Palladium.[45]

Eminem paid tribute to Goldstein on the 2010 song "Talkin' 2 Myself", rapping "Rest in peace to DJ AM/'cause I know what it's like/I struggle with this shit every single day." Eminem also battled an addiction to prescription medication and nearly died from an overdose in late 2007.

In August 2011, several DJs paid tribute to DJ AM at the Vanity Nightclub in the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.[46]

On the cover of the Blink-182 album, "Neighborhoods," "DJ AM" can be seen written on one of the buildings, as a memorial.[47]

A documentary film about Goldstein's life and work, largely featuring documentary materials from his own expansive archives, as well as interviews with key figures in his life, was announced at the Electric Daisy Carnival Week's EDMbiz Conference on June 20, 2013.[48]



  • Samantha Ronson & DJ AM – Challah (2003)
  • Samantha Ronson & DJ AM – Challah Back (2003)

DJ Mixes[edit]

Appears on[edit]





  • DJ Hero, contributing mixes for the game and also appearing as a playable character

Television and film appearances[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2009 Downtown Calling Himself Documentary film
2010 Iron Man 2 Himself Feature film; dedicated in his memory
Year Title Role Notes
2005–2007 The Simple Life Himself 1 Episode (Season 3, "Zoo")
2005 Punk'd Himself 1 Episode
2006 Entourage Himself 1 Episode
The Ellen DeGeneres Show Guest DJ (Himself) 1 Episode
2009 Gone Too Far Himself 8 Episodes, also as writer, creator


  1. ^ Style & Culture; No sleep for DJ A.M. in the p.m.; Having Caught the Ears of the Right People, he Juggles Star Parties and Club Gigs, Gina Piccalo, Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2003
  2. ^ DJ AM Badly Burned in Plane Crash, JTA, September 25, 2008
  3. ^ Internationally known Jewish DJ badly burned in plane crash, The Jerusalem Post, September 24, 2008
  4. ^ "I Put a Gun in My Mouth and Pulled the Trigger". Glamour. Condé Nast Publications. January 4, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ Talented yet troubled DJ AM's last, sad song The Philadelphia Inquirer August 30, 2009
  6. ^ DJ AM Opens Up About Suicide Attempt Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  7. ^ A look back as Travis Barker and DJ AM look ahead to a 'full recovery' LA Times "On Monday morning I went to a meeting and said, 'I can’t deejay sober – I sucked. This is how I pay my rent, and if I can’t deejay, I don’t know what I’m going to do.' After the meeting, a guy came up to me and said, 'I promise you, if you stay sober, your career will go further than you ever imagined possible."
  8. ^ DJ AM with Glamour Retrieved August 27, 2009
  9. ^ It's Over – Again – for Nicole Richie and DJ AM Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  10. ^ "Nicole Richie, Fiancé Call Off Engagement". People. December 7, 2005. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  11. ^ Nicole Richie and DJ AM Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  12. ^ Diddy, Paris Hilton, Samantha Ronson Pay Tribute To DJ AM Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  13. ^ Weinstein, Farrah (September 12, 2006). "'Entourage' Cameo Suited DJ AM Just Fine: Inside His Sneakerhead Life". mtv. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Resume: Special Events". Adam Goldstein. 
  15. ^ – Travis Barker, DJ AM To Perform At New Year's Eve Party Dec 1, 2008
  16. ^ – Latest Details on Travis Barker, DJ AM Reunion Gig Dec 1, 2008
  17. ^ Travis Barker, DJ AM Reuniting for Performance" TV Guide. December 1, 2008. Retrieved on December 3, 2008.
  18. ^ DJ AM was found dead in his apartment yesterday by his good friend Kyle Wilkins. Daily Mail. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  19. ^ DJ AM Drug Intervention Series Might Still Air OK Magazine. September 24, 2009.
  20. ^ Series hosted by late DJ AM still in play at MTV Reuters. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  21. ^ DJ AM's 'Gone Too Far' trailer: Will you watch? Pop Watch. October 9, 2009. Retrieved October 11, 2009.
  22. ^ MTV Previews DJ AM Series Gone Too Far Kate Stanhope, TV GUIDE. Retrieved on October 12, 2009.
  23. ^ Downtown Calling cast Downtown Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  24. ^ N 9NEGroup DJ AM page
  25. ^ DJ AM Biography DJ Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  26. ^ DJ Hero Talent DJ AM Found Dead Wired. August 31, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  27. ^ T.I. Wins BET Awards from Jail; DJ AM Wins From the Grave CBS News. Edecio Martinez. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  28. ^ DJ AM cameo in Iron Man 2 News. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  29. ^ Silverman, Stephen M.; Marx, Linda (September 20, 2008). "Travis Barker and DJ AM in Jet Crash". People. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  30. ^ "4 killed, 2 hurt as rock star's jet crashes". September 21, 2008. Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  31. ^ Life & Style Magazine December 1, p.35,
  32. ^ "Drummer Barker 'to fully recover'". BBC News. September 21, 2008. Archived from the original on September 22, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  33. ^ Bloomekatz, Ari B. (September 22, 2008). "Musicians in jet crash expected to recover". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2008. 
  34. ^ In December 2008, Goldstein filed a civil lawsuit against the plane's charter company, Learjet, Goodyear tire and the estates of the pilots; the suit claims negligence on the part of the pilots and a manufacturing defect on the part of the plane. Goldstein was asking for damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, disfigurement and loss of earnings.
  35. ^ DJ AM Files Lawsuit in Fatal Learjet Crash, December 23, 2008
  36. ^ Dec 31, 2008 DJ AM Addresses Rumors of Plane Crash Lawsuit
  37. ^ Oh, Eunice (August 28, 2009). "DJ AM Found Dead in New York City". People. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  38. ^ Aug 28, 2009 – Celebrity Disc Jockey 'DJ AM' Found Dead in New York Apartment
  39. ^ Lee, Chris (August 29, 2009). "Adam Goldstein dies at 36; club owner gained fame as DJ AM". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Fate of DJ AM show unclear as speculation over death grows". CNN. September 1, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  41. ^ Drug overdose killed DJ AM, official says Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  42. ^ Ehrich Dowd, Kathy (September 29, 2009). "Medical Examiner Rules DJ AM Death an Accidental Overdose". People. Archived from the original on October 2, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  43. ^ "DJ AM Had Nine OxyContin Pills in his body". September 2, 2009. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  44. ^ Funeral held for DJ AM, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 3, 2009
  45. ^ Nicole Richie & Lindsay Lohan Attend DJ AM Memorial Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  46. ^ "Club plans tributes to DJ AM". Las Vegas Review-Journal. August 26, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  47. ^ "10 Things You Need to Know About the New Blink Album". Kerrang!. August 2011. p. 6
  48. ^ McCarthy, Zel (June 20, 2013). "DJ AM Documentary Trailer Debuts at EDM Biz Conference". Billboard. Retrieved July 6, 2007. 
  49. ^ Guitar Hero news: 5th edition, Van Halen, tour/reality show? AV Club. October 9, 2009. Retrieved on October 22, 2009.

External links[edit]