Faithful Departed — DJ AM

DJ AM commemorative billboard above Famous Stars and Straps Third Street Los Angeles store, November 2009. Photo by ChildofMidnight.
DJ AM commemorative billboard above Famous Stars and Straps Third Street Los Angeles store, November 2009. Photo by ChildofMidnight.

After collaborating with numerous musicians and dabbling in acting, it was DJ AM’s last project that was his most memorable.

Adam Goldstein, best known as DJ AM, battled with addiction for much of his life and remained clean for 11 years. In his last months he filmed Gone Too Far, a series on MTV where he provided intervention for those who struggled with addiction.

An intense series, the show explicitly reveals a day in the life of an addict while offering help to those willing to change their lives. While I’ve never dealt with addiction personally, the show really made an impact on me and restored my faith in the music industry.

Being a music journalist, I’ve heard the horror stories of bands dropped by major labels and the destruction that the touring lifestyle causes on loved ones. However, I’ve hardly ever read about a musician that is truly selfless and making a difference in society. Goldstein changed this. He provided hope and help to numerous addicts and their families and his spirit lives on in those lives he saved.

A troubled soul, who, in the end, lost his life to an accidental overdose, AM gave hope to the families and addicts featured on his show. The opening segment demonstrates his optimism and compassion.

“Some will change. Others won’t. But, I have to keep on trying because everyone deserves a second chance. There is one reason I’m doing this show. To help other people get sober,” he said.

Everyone deserves a second chance

He provided hope and help to numerous addicts and their families and his spirit lives on in those lives he saved.

This line stuck with me. Everyone deserves a second chance. Goldstein had one, why can’t others?

A former member of rock/hip hop group Crazy Town (the band is known for their chart-topping 2001 hit single, “Butterfly”), Goldstein worked on albums for numerous artists including Papa Roach, Madonna and Will Smith and was a regular collaborator with Blink-182’s Travis Barker.

Goldstein led a difficult life combating addiction. After many bouts with rehab, he remained clean for more than 11 years. Perhaps what is most tragic is how Goldstein narrowly escaped death last year when his plane crashed after a performance. Barker was also injured while both crew members and two other passengers were killed. Maybe it was this near death experience that gave way to Gone Too Far. Often, when we are faced with adversity; God has a way of changing a near tragedy into something memorable.

Goldstein truly is an inspiration on Gone Too Far, and I can only hope that I can touch as many lives with my writing as he did on that show. While talking to Amy, a 23-year-old heroin addict who stole thousands of dollars from her family, he advised: “Just know that there is hope and that’s what I’m here for.” Having struggled with addiction, the people featured on the show respected and related to Goldstein. “I can’t cure addiction but I can offer Amy a chance at a different life.”

And that he did. In his last months, Goldstein helped numerous addicts and their families combat addiction and receive a new chance at life. Twenty-three-year-old Breezy explained her experience.

“My life from when I first met Adam is so different. I’m very grateful for what he did for me and all the people that were involved in this,” she said. “Adam, if you were here today, I would thank you for giving me my life back and giving me the opportunity to be a better sister and a better daughter, and granddaughter and friend. I can’t express how grateful I am to have been able to meet you and receive this gift from you.”

While DJ AM may have lost his life earlier this year, he saved countless addicts from death and continues to inspire with his last work on Gone Too Far.