When I finally caught up with DJ A.M. (that's Adam Michael Goldstein, if you're his mom), he was whipping down a road in LA—something I didn't think one could do in California anymore—headed for Santa Monica to pick up some special-order Nikes. Now, I've burned some rubber myself en route to killer shoe sales, but Nikes?! Limited-edition Nikes, no less? And to own 600 of 'em? But let's cut the guy some slack: He moved to LA from his hometown of Philadelphia at 14, and worked his tuchas off to become a nightclub owner and one of the most sought-after DJs in the country. He's entitled to an obsession or two.
This Thanksgiving, A.M. has got a lot to be thankful for.
Even after a year of spinning every Saturday and Sunday at the Hard Rock's Body English, A.M. was not actively seeing greener pastures in which to play. Despite the deep bond formed with staff and management, A.M. says "it was just time for a change ... and a raise!" He was approached by Pure Management Group and signed to a two-year, exclusive contract which specifies he will spin at a Pure venue once a week for two years.
"The staff of Pure are the coolest. We had a very no-nonsense approach towards me coming there. I didn't want to nitpick over dumb little Vegas perks like M&Ms in the booth and suites and shit like that. I just wanted to make us both totally happy from Day 1 so there is no resentment down the road. They were open and honest with me the way I like it, and I could not be happier."
Though Pure Nightclub at Caesars will be his home base, A.M. might occasionally fire up the turntables for Tangerine, Bikinis, Coyote Ugly, and any other club Pure Group may acquire within the next two years.
Some might find it constricting to slip into the straitjacket of a two-year contract, but for this DJ, it's a downright gift from above. "Man, I am blessed ... period," he says. "I am one lucky guy, and on a daily basis I drop to my knees and thank God for where I am. I should be dead. I was strung out on crack, had burned every bridge I ever made, and was all alone. I am a miracle."
After years of playing free gigs at underground clubs, being paid in vinyl, and working himself to the bone to support his music habit, A.M. now craves familiarity. "Part of the recovery process is routine. I like to make myself as comfy as I can be. At the Hard Rock, I knew every bellman, the check-in people and so on. That was a nice, comfy thing to have."
And like many of us, A.M. is definitely looking forward to getting out of the cubicle and into the action. "I love the main room at Pure. I have such a good view of the dance floor and I'm in the same room as the crowd. I really like that intimacy when I am DJing. Helps me get a better read on the crowd and feel them out better." Did you hear that, ladies? A.M.'s into intimacy and mutual pleasure; he's a giver. Could Nicole Richie get any luckier?
"Majority rules. I play for the crowd. I want everyone to be happy. But that takes a lot. I also take some time out of the night to pay my respects to the founders and to educate people about the godfathers of hip-hop."
All right, I'll bite. Who are the godfathers of hip-hop? A.M. rattles off the list: "The godfathers of hip-hop are Kool Herc, DST, Marley Marl, Grand Wizard Theodore and so on." By creating the genre as they did, they "paved the way for a white, Philly Jew like me to have a job!"
That pavement has seen its share of accidents, as has the 32-year-old A.M. Like "when a washed-up actor or relative of a celebrity will start DJing just because they will get hired based off of their name, not their skill." One gent who stands out in his mind asked him what the pitch control on the turntables did. (For those of you out there who spend more time mixing drinks than records, the only button more important than the pitch control is the one that turns the equipment on.)
"I don't think he ever DJ-ed before, and here he was playing a dope party," A.M. exclaims. "You can't just jump to that. It's not fair. I did many years of bullshit parties for free before I got the honor to play the big ones. ... Pay your dues! Play every single gig you can possibly get. Practice! That's what I did. I'm no 'amazing' or 'special' DJ. I am just another dude with two Technics 1200 turntables who really loves to DJ."
Beginning January 6, we'll get to see this dynamic dude in action. If you simply can't wait that long, he will also be making an appearances at Pure December 3 with friend and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker. "Travis and I met in France in 1999. My old band Crazy Town played a show with them. We briefly met but we have a lot of mutual friends. He reached out to me wanting to rehearse and we did. It just kinda worked out."
Whether it's a weekend in Vegas, a private party for Christina Aguilera, Usher or Roberto Cavalli; or a Wednesday night at LAX, the nightclub he co-owns with former Las Palmas owner Loyal Pennings—A.M. is a hard-working DJ. "Only God knows where I will be in 20 years. I trust him and do my best to keep my side of the street clean."