DJ AM in December 2008
|Birth name||Adam Michael Goldstein|
|Also known as||DJ AM|
March 30, 1973|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||August 28, 2009
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||DJ, remixer, drummer|
|Associated acts||TRV$DJAM, Crazy Town, Travis Barker, Samantha Ronson|
DJ AM (born Adam Michael Goldstein; March 30, 1973 – August 28, 2009) was an American DJ, remixer and musician. Goldstein was a member of the rock band Crazy Town from 1999 until 2001, and was a successful solo DJ, performing for three years at Caesars Palace as well as at private events for various celebrities. He was also one half of TRV$DJAM along with Travis Barker. Barker and Goldstein were the only two survivors of the 2008 South Carolina Learjet 60 crash, which killed the four other people on board.
Goldstein appeared as himself in several television series, contributed mixes and appeared as a playable character in the video game DJ Hero, and filmed a cameo appearance for Iron Man 2. Goldstein, who had a drug addiction in his early 20s, hosted the 2009 MTV drug intervention series Gone Too Far. He appeared to be struggling with his former addiction during filming. On August 28, 2009 he was found dead in his New York City apartment from a drug overdose. Iron Man 2, which was released in 2010, was dedicated to his memory.
Early and personal life
Goldstein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Jewish parents. Goldstein described his father as "unbelievably cruel", stating that he was verbally abused by him. His father abused drugs and alcohol and was incarcerated for committing bank fraud. As an adult, however, Goldstein found out that the man he thought was his father was not his biological one. Goldstein attended the Quaker school Friends' Central. At the age of 14 he moved with his mother to Los Angeles after his parents divorced. Here he fell in with a crowd of heavy drug users. He was sent to a drug rehabilitation center, but was indicted and dismissed for his treatment of younger patients shortly before his 18th birthday. His father died the following year due to complications from HIV/AIDS.
When Goldstein was 20 years old he started deejaying, which he had been obsessed with since seeing Herbie Hancock perform "Rockit" at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. During his early 20s, Goldstein also battled a drug addiction, specifically to crack cocaine. In 1997 he attempted suicide but was unsuccessful when the gun he placed in his mouth jammed when he pulled the trigger. Shortly thereafter, he became sober, began attending AA meetings and dedicated himself to working as a DJ.
Goldstein began dating actress Nicole Richie in 2003 and announced their engagement in February 2005, though the couple broke up in late 2006. He dated Mandy Moore for two months in 2007 and remained close friends with her after separating. Later in 2007 he was romantically involved with Jessica Stam. Goldstein was an avid sneakerhead, owning over 1,000 pairs of sneakers by 2007.
Goldstein's stage name, "DJ AM" stands for his first and middle names, Adam Michael. After having played for his friends and at private parties for some time, Goldstein got his first paying job as a DJ at an illegal after-hours club in Los Angeles at the age of 21, where he was paid $40 and a six-pack of beer for a night's work. After befriending Shifty Shellshock he joined the rap/rock group Crazy Town in 1999, and contributed to their hit Butterfly, which reached No. 1 in several countries. He left the group in 2001 to escape the drug-related dysfunction that was plaguing the band. Goldstein's relationship with Nicole Richie helped skyrocket his career as a DJ. Us Weekly editor Janice Min said "He's an amazing DJ, but there are a lot of amazing DJs. The difference is that there's only one who dated Nicole. It put him on the map." By 2007 he was being paid between $10,000 and $25,000 for an event as a solo DJ. Goldstein scratched on albums for Papa Roach, Madonna, Will Smith and Shifty, and played concerts with Jay-Z. He had played private events for celebrities like Jim Carrey, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Stiller, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Aguilera, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Kate Hudson.
Goldstein and Travis Barker began performing under the name TRV$DJAM in June 2008. On September 19, 2008, after having performed at a college event, Goldstein and Barker were aboard South Carolina Learjet 60 when it crashed upon takeoff in Columbia, South Carolina. The crash killed both crew members and the two other passengers, and critically injured Goldstein and Barker. They were transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. Goldstein suffered burns on his hands and parts of his head. His ex-girlfriend Mandy Moore flew to be by his side in hospital. Goldstein was released on September 26, 2008. 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.
On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that DJ AM would be making his first appearance with Travis Barker since the two survived the plane crash. The duo performed at New Year's Nation's Los Angeles 2008 New Year's Eve Party at The Wiltern. DJ AM spent three years performing at Caesars Palace, but left in 2009 to become Rain Nightclub's regular Friday night DJ in the Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas.
His reality television appearances include an episode of Punk'd, where Nicole Richie was the subject of a practical joke, as well as an episode of The Simple Life. Goldstein appears as himself in the Entourage episode "What About Bob?". He also appeared as a guest DJ on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2009 he appeared in the documentary Downtown Calling. His final project was hosting Gone Too Far, a drug intervention reality show for MTV, shooting eight episodes before his death, with an original scheduled air date of October 5, 2009. According to intervention expert BJ Hickman, who appeared in two episodes, Goldstein was clearly struggling with his addiction during filming. After Goldstein's death, Tony DiSanto, who came up with the idea for the show, said "It crosses all of our minds" whether placing Goldstein near other addicts helped contribute to his relapse. After debating whether to air the show following his death, MTV decided to debut it on October 12. His family stated "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".
Goldstein was involved with Activision's DJ Hero game in 2009. After his death Activision vice president Tim Riley said "We hope that his work on the game will be a fitting tribute to his creative spirit and musical talent." He posthumously won "DJ of the Year" at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards. Shortly after his death, he was featured in the South Park episode "Dead Celebrities", along with other celebrities that died in the summer of 2009. Goldstein filmed a cameo for the 2010 film Iron Man 2 two months before his death, appearing as himself deejaying Tony Stark's birthday party. The film is dedicated in his memory. In 2015 Goldstein appeared as a featured artist on the track "Born to Raise Hell" on Crazy Town's first album in 13 years, The Brimstone Sluggers. It was one of the last recordings he made before his death.
Goldstein was found dead in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009, from a suspected drug overdose. Drug paraphernalia, including a crack pipe and a bag of crack, were found in the apartment. 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).
After a memorial service, Goldstein was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles on September 2, 2009. The following day, a memorial was held at the Hollywood Palladium.
In August 2011, several DJs paid tribute to DJ AM at the Vanity Nightclub in the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. 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 a methadone overdose in late 2007. On the cover of the 2011 Blink-182 album, Neighborhoods, "DJ AM" can be seen written on one of the buildings, as a memorial. Macklemore makes reference to DJ AM in his 2016 song "Drug Dealer."
A documentary film about Goldstein titled As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM, was announced at the EDMbiz Conference on June 20, 2013. The film was directed by Kevin Kerslake and released in April 2015. Dennis Harvey from Variety called it an entertaining documentary, though also stated "there are some notable gaps left in the pic's posthumous understanding of DJ AM ... as its flashy surface doesn’t always help us to understand the pure artistic soul he's depicted as here."
With Crazy Town
Television and film appearances
|2005–2007||The Simple Life||Himself||2005 episode "Zoo". 2007 episode "Welcome to Camp Shawnee" (archive footage)|
|The Ellen DeGeneres Show||Guest DJ (Himself)||1 Episode|
|2009||Gone Too Far||Himself||8 Episodes, also as writer, creator|
|2009||Downtown Calling||Himself||Documentary film|
|2010||Iron Man 2||Himself||Feature film; dedicated in his memory, (Last appearance)|
|2015||As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM||Himself||Documentary film|
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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.
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- "DJ AM Addresses Rumors of Plane Crash Lawsuit". Us Weekly. December 31, 2008. Archived from the original on September 2, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Montgomery, James (December 1, 2008). "Travis Barker, DJ AM To Perform At New Year's Eve Party". MTV. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
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- "Downtown Calling". Downtown Calling. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
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- Sciarretto, Amy (August 28, 2015). "Album Stream: Crazy Town 'The Brimstone Sluggers'". Artistdirect. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Crazy Town Release "Born To Raise Hell" Featuring J. Angel & DJ AM From 'The Brimstone Sluggers' Album". Icon Versus Icon. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
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- "DJ AM Had Nine OxyContin Pills in his body". TVGuide. September 2, 2009. Archived from the original on October 6, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
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