Written by Derek “New York” Doyle
The passing of Adam Goldstein, aka DJ AM, struck many in the music industry as a major shock. There are many speculations (as there usually are when a celebrity dies) surrounding the cause of his death.
Like the death of Heath Ledger last winter, early reports claim AM was having problems getting off the pain killers prescribed after he survived last year’s plane crash with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker (out of the six people on the plane Goldstein and Barker were the only two to survive). Police reports also claim a mixture of other illegal drugs in his New York City apartment. So why am I taking my own time to write this piece? My editors didn’t assign this; it is simply a work of passion. A letter to the world to hope that people see past DJ AM as a simple club deejay and realize the significance he had on bringing two completely opposite cultures together.
For anyone who never had the opportunity of seeing AM live, it can only be described as watching a one man band. He was more than a deejay. The way he controlled the audience was like that of a charismatic lead singer, even though he was silent throughout his entire set and even shy in person. The rhythms he managed to mash together created an energy that’s indescribable. It was as if he created a world where everyone could relate – punks, thugs, hillbillies, and frat boys alike. His work with Travis Barker on their mix tapes “Fix Your Face” and “Fix Your Face Vol. 2- Coachella Live” brought together the energy of the Sex Pistols with the club bangers of Jay-Z. He made us all realize what we had in common: the need for a good time.
DJ AM could take MGMT and segue right into The Police, and then go directly into Outkast without losing ANY of the crowds attention at any moment. At last years Lollapalooza in a tent that held about 150 people he managed to steal the show from bigger acts like Kanye West, Rage Against The Machine, and Nine Inch Nails. All acts, ironically, that he sampled into his show. He was a true music revolutionary, changing how we think about the term “genre,” and defying it all so the crowd could dance the night away. When combined with Barker’s amazing drum style it was often a duel of prodigies as they played off each other in their usual positions: AM stage left and Barker stage right.
With AM gone the questions remains, who will take his place? When entertainers who inspire me pass on I try and see the positive in it, with them gone it opens room for the next person to come through the door and take their place. With so many genres crossing over in this day and age you can’t help and think that subconsciously he had something to do with it. So let’s respectfully take his passing as a challenge.
Let’s continue to try and change the game. Let’s not follow in the footsteps of what’s been done and create a future in music that we can be proud of – unique, interesting, and personal.