Friday, August 28, 2009

DJ AM...

When the news of DJ AM's death spread throughout the internet yesterday, I was in total disbelief. One second I'm at the shop preparing for a photoshoot, another second Kenny is telling me his boy just heard news of AM's passing. The first person I called was Neva and we were both devastated and speechless. There was nothing but questions. Nothing but "whys", "hows", "what happened" and what's gonna happen now?"

DJ AM brought DJ'ing to another level musically, technically, creatively and opened doors to alot of vast markets, making it possible for DJ's like me and many others to have a flourishing career in this industry. He was the epitome of what a DJ should be and could be...the Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Howard Hughes and Tiger Woods of this DJ shit.

I never knew AM personally. We met at the clubs and social functions here and there but I never made an effort to get to know him. On the contrary, I almost avoided him. Call it intimidation. Call it hate. I can't explain it. I definitely looked up to him and respected everything about him but I didn't wanna be like these other user DJ's who tried to initiate relationships with AM to further their DJ career. It's something that's become much more frequent in this industry and it makes me sick. Random DJ's (if you wanna call them that) who posed in flicks with AM and posted them on myspace, thinking that picture would somehow validate them as an accomplished DJ and ultimately get them more bookings to make more money. It was disturbing to me and because of it, I always stayed far away from AM. He was a pier and a god at the same time. I didn't know the man, but I was connected to the DJ. His death hit me unexpectedly hard and I can't explain it. He's a legend and icon and I wasn't ready to see him go. I wanted to hear more and see more from this man. This is a tremendous loss and everyone here at KNYEW sends our whole hearted thanks and love to DJ AM and his friends and family. We're gonna miss you.
Crooked signing out...

Diplo's last words on DJ AM on

Im sure that AM had to go day in and day out and negotiate all the music we appreciate for mass consumption, he had good nights and just ok ones..
but he wasnt a radio DJ or a programmer or part of a label . he was a straight up Djs dj, he picked his tracks to play out and had THE STYLE that defines our whole generation like it or not …and even if you didnt like his style (which ranged form deep top 40 to deepest old school hip hop to deepest hipster indy rock.. he would come to your party and do what u do better than you (he did it to me coupla times) he would put tracks out there before they were acceptable and he was always adapting to whatever was goin on.. not because he had to… but because he loved music. ..he was definitely a peoples champ
and in a world that doesnt really seem to care about you – promotors, fareweather friends, rich assholes, alcholics, trendsters…. AM carved a whole pie out of it and built a giant empire that little of you even know about. He never ever ever didnt have time to talk to one of his dj homies, each and every one of the small wannabes like me still spoke to him still weekly. How many people do u know DJ wedding partys for billionaires, arenas for Jay z, and djs for roctakons shitty basment party in manhattan for free and then 20 k the next night.. each day he was still asking me for new music and tellin me how the wierdest of my tracks were starting to pick up momentum….. but.. i never knew how long it would last.
Djs have a ceiling, and Am lived on the roof. he sometimes would tell me a bit about his reservations in passing about his lifestyle and i feel like its a loveless place we all live in (DJs). but i dont think We will ever see another person built for it like AM.. he was THE Michael Jackson of this shit. so it really worries me a bit that hes gone , cause hes the only that i thought understood it all… he was a sweetheart and tried his damnest to be the best at it and still be the best at being himself

Roctakon's last words on DJ AM on

I do not want to write about this, I dont not want to talk about this but i think people want answers and I cant be selfish not at a time like this.

This is not the case of a selfish man, or and unlucky break or a wrongful death, this is addiction plain and simple. Addiction is a disease and AM's passing needs to be viewed the same way you'd view a loved ones struggle with cancer or any number of incurable maladies that can take a human life. Millions of people all over the world suffer and struggle with Addiction, they are our friends, our family, our coworkers and sometimes even our heroes. There is no finger to point, no way to blame an enabler or a drug dealer or even to blame Adam for this loss we simply have to live with it. Here was a man lifted from the gutter, given a second and then a third chance, reborn a god almost, why? we say why would someone with everything risk it all for one last party, one last binge. That is addiction. Adam knew there were no guarantees and knew that he might not make it back if he picked up that pipe, when faced with the option, do this drug or this drink that could destroy my life, or face these demons inside me and live to fight another day and spin another set, he chose or rather his disease chose for him. He was a sick man, and sometimes when we are sick or suffering the last thing we want is the help we really need.

When "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came out I was probably 13 years old, and in one fell swoop Kurt Cobain and co. ruined everything my 13 year old heart held dear. There was no more alternative radio and it was like the police had disbanded my secret club. My Club that knew about The Cure or Morrissey and stayed up past bed time Sunday nights to watch 120 minutes, and knew the lyrics to New Order songs like Temptation, and was excited for the new Lightning Seeds record. The entire earth shifted with that one song and i was so angry and felt so abandoned until i found rap.

Ten years later I moved to New York, dreaming of playing in clubs and being like Stretch Armstrong or Dj Riz, dreamed of playing Disco and "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones to adoring fans. There was no more scratching, no more dj contest, this was it, New York djing. We played late nights, we played on giant rotary mixers and I fucking loved it. Every record carefully selected and packed, just enough to fit in a cab trunk. Just enough disco and classics and rock to make the bungalow 8 crowd happy and all the hip hop and hits i needed to go "urban" all night if i had to, no fat, no excess, nothing u didn't need. 4 Crates in the trunk of a yellow cab, this was my nirvana (in the heaven sense). And then....

Then Adam, I just wanted Ny shit, but the world would not listen to me. god how I hated it, everything I held dear destroyed again, I bucked and bucked and bucked, Refused to scratch, refused to be "clever" sorry no "back beat" mash up crap for me, I just play the songs and try and keep the club going off, I'm not on stage I'm the dj I'm a servant of the people... Adam had to be the star, scratching at all times, making sure you knew it was all about him, tricks galore, the cheesier and more crowd pleasing the better. God how I fucking hated it, my beloved Rane 2016 slowly replaced by TTM 56's, my New York being ruined by this Californian take on things. Then the computer came and with it the last nail in the coffin. Fuck it i said, i can scratch better and double two records better than this guy i might as well make a fucking buck cause nobody wants to hear disco and house while the world is hollertronix crazy I'm just gonna cash in...
In the same way that every hack Seattle band got their shot after Nirvana so did every hack DJ, myself included. I scratched and I posed for pics and got on and off airplanes relentlessly, and in the process got to know this man who some part of me totally loathed for his crime against my culture. Some days I loved him like a brother and some days I wanted to rip his head off for being such a hollywood fag. A wile ago i decided that I did not want to play in AM's pond anymore, it took a lot to let go of the money and the lifestyle it brings but i knew it was not for me anymore and in reality never had been, i was a tourist if you will and my visa was up. One thing that came along with slowing down and stopping was a stronger bond with Adam, no longer bickering about who has the best manager or who the better club djs are or this or that, I was able to let go and really be a friend, or try to be. Maybe I could have done more, shared more about my own demons and fears, my own insecurities, but you never think your not going to get another chance, you don't think that the person with the power to light up a room and to change music forever, to change my life and the life of so many others that this person can lose this battle, be gone in an instant. For better and for worse my life has been completely altered by being in the slip stream behind this man let alone in the inner circle, I have learned so much about myself and music and life in the aftermath of his success. Beyond the US Weekly shit and the Nicole Richie shit, and the TV shows and Million Dollar Deals, beyond all that shit, this one guy loved djing so fucking much that he changed the face of music forever, in the same way that Curt did in the 90s. His influence is that profound.
On Monday another dj my friend Josh got hit by a car on his scooter and died, he was as well loved in his world as AM was in his. I've lost two friends this week, and i am forever changed, I want to be angry and blame Adam still, for picking up that drug, like if i blame him enough it will make sense that Josh got hit by a car and died for no good reason. In reality I'm not angry, accidents happen and I know Adam suffered from an incurable disease, knowledge dose not make this any easier, but i thought writing about it might help, and it has.

For Josh and Adam...


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