DJ AM became one of my closest friends.
We were both from the old school and started off DJing with real vinyl. There’s a certain level of skill that you get by actually touching real records. You purchased records every week, marked them, and carried heavy crates of them up and down flights of steps. That’s how real DJs earned their stripes. It’s a lot easier now that DJs can DJ off of CDs and their computer. I’m not saying that that’s bad, but you have a certain level of respect for the culture when you’ve played real vinyl.
Being from Philadelphia, we had history before I even knew it. He came to one of my shows in San Francisco, and actually ended his show early to come and see me play. Shortly after I was asked to be a surprise DJ at his birthday party and our friendship grew from there. We started DJing together doing 2 x 4 sets (where 2 DJs play at the same time) and ended up being managed by the same company. I became in awe of his musical knowledge and his risk-taking in playing records that no other DJ would play. Adam was a real DJ and had the balls to do things other DJs wouldn’t do.
I remember a night we were playing together at the Palms in Las Vegas, it was about 12:30 a.m., the peak of the night, and he looked over at me and asked if I heard the new Wu-Tang record. I said, “No, I haven't,” and he said, “It’s really dope, check it out,” and then he grabbed it and played it in front of 3,000 people in a packed nightclub in Las Vegas not caring about what “should be played.” And the entire crowd rocked to it. I looked at him and said, “Man, you’re crazy,” but I had so much respect that he was a DJ that was in total control.
That’s what being a real DJ is all about—you’re the captain of the ship. AM was one of the best captains I know! We would talk music and talk about the DJ culture for hours. He really had a lot of respect for the DJ culture and cared deeply about where it was headed. To have one of the top DJs in the world be as skilled as AM definitely helped push the culture forward. He is one of the main reasons why DJs’ earning potential has shot through the roof in recent years.
DJ AM was a “DJs DJ”—all of the DJs were friends of his not just because of how generous he was, but also because he was just an overall great dude! It was a huge loss for me as well as the culture not having him around anymore, and I miss him greatly. Every once in a while I’ll spin one of his famous mixes just to let him know that I’m thinking about him. I hope that this film gives the world a chance to see how great of a person AM was and also how great of a DJ AM was.