Relentless Beats

‘As I Am: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM’ Paints A Human Portrait of A Man Perceived As Something Much More

The spotlight can represent many different things to each individual. For some it represents the holy grail, something to be achieved, and something that they will relentlessly pursue. For some it is an indicator of reputation, a means by which they flaunt their public perception and by which they can classify themselves within social hierarchy. For some it can mean corruption, a place where your ideals become tainted and where your priorities become sullied. And for some, it may mean nothing…


For Adam Goldstein, or DJ AM, the spotlight came naturally. He didn’t seek it out, he didn’t allow it to represent him, the spotlight didn’t taint Adam, and he stood directly under the spotlight… it was his life.

So what did the spotlight mean to Adam Goldstein personally? The spotlight was Adam’s escape and his downfall. He didn’t allow the spotlight to take a hold of his life, but with the spotlight comes the lack of privacy and a certain amount of media fabricated perception. Adam was a man. Yes, he was a rockstar, he was an idol, he was a role model, he was a public figure. But most of all, Adam Goldstein was human just like everyone else, and that is what we need to realize.

Kevin Kerslake‘s As I Am: The Life and Times of DJ AM set out to bring this realization into the conscious minds of its audience. Yes, the film is a music documentary for the reason that it follows one of the most recognizable names in the electronic music industry, and celebrity culture in general. But more so than a music documentary, As I Am is the recollection of the extraordinary and harrowing life of a man who was much more than we were led to believe while he was alive.

Kerslake makes it his mission to provide a narrative where we see DJ AM as Adam Goldstein, the man. From the opening, the terrifying scene of his life-altering plane crash, to the credits, Adam’s fateful end, we are taken through the life and times of someone thought to be invincible.

Adam’s life was full of ups and downs: serving as the business’ leading talent, but dealing with the struggle of drug addiction throughout his existence. Estranged from his father at an early age, only to learn that he was the unwanted child of his true paternal patriarchy at an older age, Goldstein’s life was not always what the cameras led us to believe.

And despite remaining sober for a number of years, DJ AM just couldn’t seem to ever truly kick the addiction completely. We follow him through the years of addiction and the years of sobriety and musical fruition, but there is always this lingering feeling that at any moment, like any human dealing with the mental challenges of temptation, he would break and allow these struggles to get the best of himself.

The film features appearances from industry faces and close friends like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Diplo, Steve Aoki, Paul Oakenfold, Mix Master Mike, and even some of Goldstein’s family.

A harrowing example of a life that ended much too abruptly, As I Am is equal parts cautionary tale and informative documentary. However, more so than both of these, Kevin Kerslake has created a comprehensive bio piece chronicling a man who was no one but himself: a musician, an addict, a friend, a hard-worker, someone who was self-aware, and someone who didn’t always know what he needed to do to keep himself safe and happy. This is the story of a human being who’s time in the spotlight both saved and killed him.

You can catch As I Am: The Life and Time$ of DJ AM at FilmBar in Downtown Phoenix tomorrow night, June 15th.

Purchase tickets here.

Keep an eye out for our interview with director Kevin Kerslake for a more in depth look at the film and DJ AM’s life…

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