Adam Michael Goldstein, known professionally as DJ AM, was an American DJ. Born in Philadelphia, Goldstein became interested in deejaying as a child watching Herbie Hancock perform his 1983 single “Rockit.” Goldstein developed a drug addiction as a teenager and was sent to the controversial rehabilitation center Straight, Incorporated. After he left the center, his drug problems became worse; he was addicted to crack cocaine for several years in his early twenties. Take a look below for 35 more bizarre and interesting facts about DJ AM.
1. Goldstein was born on March 30, 1973, in Philadelphia.
2. His parents, Andrea and Herbert – both of whom were Jewish – had been unable to conceive children naturally, and they had adopted Goldstein’s older sister Lara a year before his birth.
3. Goldstein’s mother left her husband temporarily after she caught him having extramarital sex with another man.
4. During this time she had an affair herself, and she found out she was pregnant with Adam after returning to her husband.
5. While heavily pregnant, she discovered her husband had been adulterous a second time, and then she angrily disclosed to him that he was not the biological father of her baby.
6. Goldstein stated that his father had verbally abused him.
7. As an adult, he realized that this was likely due to resentment that Goldstein was not his biological son.
8. Goldstein witnessed his father openly using cocaine and marijuana throughout his childhood.
9. Goldstein said he began overeating as a way of dealing with anger and depression, becoming obese by the age of 10. He also began experimenting with alcohol when he was 11.
10. After watching Herbie Hancock perform “Rockit” with Grand Mixer DXT at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984, Goldstein became obsessed with deejaying, and realized that it was what he wanted to do for a career.
11. He attended the Quaker school Friends’ Central.
12. When he was 14, Herbert was incarcerated for committing bank fraud, and his mother subsequently moved to Los Angeles with Goldstein and his sister.
13. In Los Angeles, Goldstein associated with a crowd of heavy drug users.
14. At 16, he approached his mother and asked for help with his drug problems. She arranged for him to attend Straight, Incorporated, a drug rehabilitation center that was later revealed to abuse patients. Goldstein disclosed that he was physically assaulted and spat on by staff while there. At one point, he escaped from the facility, but was arrested and brought back after being recognized at Knott’s Berry Farm.
15. While he was in rehab, his mother visited him and disclosed that Herbert was not his biological father, was homosexual, and was dying from HIV/AIDS.
16. Goldstein said that after he received this news he “exploded,” attacking one of his counselors.
17. He was eventually indicted and dismissed from rehab for his treatment of younger patients shortly before his 18th birthday. Herbert died the following year.
18. After leaving rehab, Goldstein began attending raves and experimenting with MDMA and nitrous oxide.
19. He also started deejaying; he broke into a friend’s home while he was away for the weekend to practice on his turntables and eventually went on to practice freestyle deejaying every day for a whole summer.
20. Goldstein started using crack cocaine by the age of 20. He said that taking the drug and deejaying were “about all he did” for the next four years of his life.
21. He would often disappear from friends and family for days at a time.
22. In 1997, he attempted suicide; the gun jammed in his mouth as he pulled the trigger.
23. Shortly afterwards, a friend encouraged Goldstein to become sober. He began attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, avoided his friends who still took drugs, and dedicated himself to working as a DJ.
24. Goldstein relapsed after 90 days, but subsequently restarted and completed the program. People who complete the AA program are encouraged to sponsor other addicts through the recovery process; Goldstein became a sponsor for several people.
25. Goldstein’s stage name, “DJ AM”, stands for his first and middle names, Adam Michael.
26. After playing for his friends and at private parties for some time, Goldstein got his first paying job as a DJ at an unlicensed club in Los Angeles at the age of 21, where he earned $40 and a six-pack of beer for a night’s work. He worked there for two years.
27. A visiting promoter, impressed with Goldstein’s performance, offered him a deejaying job at the Hollywood club The Dragonfly. Goldstein met Shifty Shellshock through the nightclub scene, and he was asked to join the rap/rock group Crazy Town in 1999.
28. After he began dating actress Nicole Richie in 2003, Goldstein’s DJ career skyrocketed.
29. In the weeks before his death, Goldstein’s behavior had been erratic and he had been missing appointments. His manager and sponsor were both so concerned that they flew to New York to visit him two days before his death.
30. Goldstein refused to see his manager, but allowed his sponsor into his apartment, consuming pills and smoking crack cocaine in front of him. He promised to check himself into a rehabilitation center following his scheduled gig at Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas that Friday. When he missed his flight and would not return phone calls, friends brought the police to his apartment.
31. Goldstein was found dead in his New York City apartment on August 28, 2009. Drug paraphernalia, including a crack pipe and a bag of crack, were found nearby.
32. The New York medical examiner subsequently determined that Goldstein’s death was an accident caused by “acute intoxication” from a combination of cocaine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, lorazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, diphenhydramine and levamisole.
33. After a memorial service, Goldstein was interred at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, a Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles, on September 2, 2009.
34. The DJ AM Memorial Fund, an organization designed to help people struggling with drug addiction, was launched in his memory. In November 2009, 800 pairs of Goldstein’s sneakers were listed on eBay to raise funds for the organization.
35. Goldstein posthumously won DJ of the Year at the 2009 BET Hip Hop Awards.