Today marks my 25th Anniversary of being a professional DJ! May 7th, 1988 is the date I got my first set of Technics 1200 turntables, a move that launched a career that I’m still active in. From humble beginnings of spinning backyard high school parties & weddings to doing college frat parties to eventually touring the world DJ’ing in the best nightclubs, doing music for a major motion picture (Iron Man 2) and making records that spanned the globe, it has been quite a journey! I feel very blessed to be able to do what I love everyday and still have people enjoy it.
Below is a picture of the original Technics receipt from 1988 with my mom’s handwriting on it. (I purposely blurred out some of the sensitive info) My parents thought DJ’ing was something I would do in high school & college for extra money before going to law school and following in my dad’s footsteps. Indeed it almost happened that way, but in the end I chose to be happy, do what I love and make a career out of it. It’s a decision that I have never regretted.
I wasn’t able to find any pictures of my early days of DJ’ing (1988-1991) when the gigs were few & far between, I was really young and most of my time was spent practicing, building my record collection and trying to graduate from high school.
In the early 90s, I became obsessed with rave music and started practicing every day to get good at the craft. I had a setup in my room and spent countless hours learning to BPM my records (by counting beats manually), beat matching (without staring at wave forms) and figuring out what records sounded good together. In those days, there were very few things to help you learn the craft, you had to REALLY want to be a DJ and love music. There was no internet, no serato, no mp3s, no how-to books & no DJ “schools”… you had to go out to record stores, FIND music you liked or wanted, pay full price for it (up to $10.99 PER record), build your vinyl collection and learn how to use it properly. It wasn’t for everybody back then but it helped me forge a determination to get good at it because it was so challenging. Here is a shot of me practicing in my room in Summer of 1993 (notice the Cypress Hill “Insane In The Brain” record in the background, I had just gotten the promo 12″ of it prior to this picture).
Some of my early gigs were weddings… I hated them but they made good money for new records and helped me pay my parents back for their investment in my DJ career. Here is a shot of me at a wedding (also from 1993). Notice I have the same head cocked to the right pose as in the pic above… I STILL do that 20 years later!
My first consistent club residency started in February of 1996. I did clubs prior to that in 1992 & 1993 at the Red Onion chain of club / restaurants but they were fill-in for the regulars type gigs. From 1993-1996, I was mainly doing frat parties & mobile events while I was in college earning my degree. I have some video from those gigs (which I will probably rip & post up here at some point) but no pictures.
So in February of 1996, I was hired to work at Off Campus Pub in Fullerton, CA. Off Campus was THE SPOT to go party at if you were a student at Cal State Fullerton. It was voted as one of Playboy’s top 50 college bars in 1997 and I remained their head resident DJ for 11 years! I did Thursday nights which was their college night with cheap drink specials, I helped build that night into a massive success that had a line of hundreds of college kids every week trying to get in. Thursday nights at Off Campus remained that way for a decade!
My experience at Off Campus is what I share with up & coming DJs who ask me how they can go to the next step in their DJ career. To me, the formula is pretty simple: build something successful in your own city, to the point that people want to be there EVERY week to see you play. If you can do that, then you are ready to move onto travel DJ’ing and spreading your talents to the masses. Too many young DJ’s these days want to skip the steps and immediately headline all over the globe. I got news for you, it doesn’t work that way… it takes time, practice, connections and experience to do it right & be successful long term.
Here is a pic from my very first night spinning at Off Campus Pub, the date was February 22nd, 1996. As you can tell, I was quite happy to land the job. (Also take note of the Hammer “Pumps & A Bump” 12 inch in the background… the B-Side on that vinyl was “It’s All Good” and that was THE track at Off Campus in the 90s, a non-commercial hit that ALWAYS worked!):
Hopefully this recap will be insightful to those that have always wondered or asked me about my early years DJ’ing… I certainly wasn’t an overnight or instant success. It took me many years practicing my craft & gaining experience to land my first Hollywood gig, my first out of town gigs and so on. I don’t say this to be discouraging in any way but to put into perspective that sometimes things take time but if you really love music & DJ’ing, stick with it and find your path to success and, more importantly, happiness!
I’m really hyped for my 2 gigs this weekend in Kentucky & Ohio! First up on Friday night is Trust Lounge in Lexington, Kentucky. This will be my first time at Trust and in Lexington for that matter… but I’ve heard a lot of good things & I’m really looking forward to seeing what it’s all about and putting on a good show!
On Saturday, I head up to Cincinnati, Ohio to DJ at one of my longest running DJ residencies (going on 7 years in 2013!), Mt. Adams Pavilion. I’ve had so many amazing times at this venue and I can’t wait to kick off my first appearance of the year there with a bang!
If you are in either city, come thru and say what up, I’ll be handing out FREE “InstaParty” CDs at both gigs and also FREE DMS swag for all my DJ homies… DJs, hit me up for some goodies!
This Saturday, March 30th, 2013, Adam Goldstein (aka DJ AM) would have turned 40 years old. It was a life gone too soon but remembered by keeping his legacy alive & well with music, pictures and shared memories. To celebrate another birthday in his honor, I have another UNRELEASED live mix to share with all of you! If you are a DJ, use this mix for inspiration. If you are a fan, listen to this mix & remember why you became a fan to begin with. And if you were a friend, take one more trip down memory lane reminiscing about all the good times while listening to our friend at work.
The fourth previously UNRELEASED DJ AM live mix comes to me courtesy of the homie DJ Reaction. He reached out to me & told me he had a live mix that he believed had never been released before. After some googling, I was unable to find any record of it (and I had certainly never heard it before). It’s from Venom nightclub in Seattle, WA in late 2006. The interesting thing about this mix is that I was also DJ’ing in Seattle that night at a now defunct club called Tabella for the homie TJ from TPD Productions. The legendary DJ Riz, from the Crooklyn Clan, was actually spinning that night in Seattle as well. We all went out for dinner before our gigs that night and here’s a pic from that meeting of the minds:
This was still somewhat early in the open format travel DJ game, I believe this was only my second or third road gig and AM had been doing them all year (and most of 2005 as well) but they were starting to really pick up in frequency. Below is the flyer for the night, notice they billed him as “the world’s greatest DJ” — at this time there was a TON of buzz surrounding Adam around the country and not everyone had seen or heard him play yet. There was not a lot of material on the internet for people to listen to so his shows created quite a buzz & demand.
So here is UNRELEASED mix #4, DJ AM live at Venom Nightclub in Seattle from 2006, another 2 hour+ mix for you to enjoy!
This Saturday night, March 30th, 2013, I’m spinning in State College, PA at Duo Nightclub with the homie DJ Scooter from The Crooklyn Clan! I’m really looking forward to this one! I’ll be handing out FREE “InstaParty” CDs all night long… if you are in the area, come by & say what up!
This is a 100% LIVE, totally open format mix from Whatever!, a (sometimes) weekly party I throw along with my partner Drew Pierce. The concept of the party is we play whatever we feel like in a relaxed, non-club environment. For more info on the Whatever! party, check out our website: www.thewhateverparty.com or our Facebook fan page: facebook.com/thewhateverparty
If you like open format mixing from all decades & genres, this is the mix for you! A little bit of everything in this one, 51 tracks in one hour… hope you enjoy!