Adam Michael Goldstein - March 30, 1973 – August 28, 2009
I interviewed Adam about a year and a half before his death. He was friendly, candid and genuine in his love for music and his desire to push DJing as far as he could. I have spoken with hundreds of artists over the years, this one will always be significant to me.
At 34, Adam Goldstein (aka DJ AM) has already avoided being a Hollywood cliché who got on the fast track only to crash and burn.
Although he battled a serious crack cocaine addiction that threatened to derail his career early on, AM has been clean and sober for over nine years and is one of the most in-demand club DJs in North America.
Tackling his demons and coming out on top has not only shaped who Goldstein is, it’s also given him a deeper understanding of how to deal with problems he faces in his day-to-day life.
“Age is a matter of feelings, not years. So the more I experience, feel and go through, the older and wiser I get and the more my character is shaped by what I felt,” the DJ explains from his apartment in New York.
“Not even so much how you felt, but how you dealt with it. If you stuff it down or run and hide, you don’t really grow the way you do if you allow yourself to go through it. I have been through some shit, but so has everyone.”
Goldstein’s struggles with his weight, addiction and his relationships with Nicole Richie and Mandy Moore are well-known, thanks to the celebrity-driven media circus that L.A. has become - but what’s never really brought up in stories on the DJ is that AM actually knows his way around the turntables. Even if the A-listers at the Oscar after-party or hipsters at LAX can’t tell the difference, the time Goldstein spent honing his craft is obvious when you hear him spin.
“No DJs really looked to other DJs to learn from. I was the guy who was playing in the clubs, but also watching battle videos,” Goldstein says. “I was really big on watching DJs who were better than me. I knew that I couldn’t learn something from people who knew less than me. I always wanted to be a versatile, all-around DJ as opposed to just being the guy who wanted the cool job and to hang out where the girls are.”
Despite his obvious skills, Goldstein recognizes that he’s living under the spotlight more for who he is than what he can do behind the decks.
“At first it was just strange and it made me really self-conscious. I started thinking about image and what people are going to think about me. It is really easy to get affected by that. I know it was for me,” he says.
“I just had to keep telling myself that none of this means anything. At the end of the day, I am the same dude. I can see how for some people it could just keep escalating and escalating and turn into something where you think you are something that you aren’t.”
Originally published in Uptown Magazine. Feb/08
Also appeared as Quote of the Day on Perez Hilton.