One of the brightest stars in the DJ world burned out too soon. The new documentary As I AM: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM follows the musical career and untimely passing of Adam Goldstein, who died in 2009 from a drug overdose.
After receiving critical praise on the festival circuit, director Kevin Kerslake’s film is getting a Las Vegas screening at the Palms’ Brenden Theaters. Warren Peace, a local music and club staple and one of the film’s producers, has perhaps the deepest understanding of the impact DJ AM made in Las Vegas.
“Before AM, to be a headlining DJ at a major Las Vegas club [with your] headshot and name on fliers, you had to be Paul Oakenfold or Tiësto,” he says. “He kind of brought the rock-star aspect and notoriety of a really skilled DJ to the forefront. He was a really nice guy, and he had so much socially going on.”
Thanks to AM showing how the DJ could be front and center at any club or party, other DJs in town saw their rates increase. “Really, if you’re a DJ working in Vegas, you owe part of that to AM,” Peace says.
AM’s genre-blending musical style also changed the pace of the scene—in Vegas and beyond. “His foundation was hip-hop, but he threw in ’80s, rock, dance. He was throwing in tons of different records left and right,” Peace says. “He really started mixing up a whole ton of genres, which most people hadn’t even heard before. On top of that, he could actually scratch, he could actually DJ and had a plethora of tricks.”
Playing the hottest parties for the Hollywood who’s who enhanced the celebrity aspect of AM’s career, but at his core he was a master of the ones and twos. Says Peace: “There’s a quote in the movie that A-Trak says, ‘It’s one thing to be able to be a really good DJ and a really good talent, it’s another thing to have a taste that makes everyone move.’ Those two things together are really, really hard to find in a DJ.”
As I AM: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM June 1, 8:30 p.m.; Brenden Theatres at the Palms, $10.50. Pop-Up: As I Am Edition (official afterparty for the film premiere) at Ghostbar; June 1, 10 p.m.