Ever get a premonition that somebody’s going to die?
I honestly felt that way last month at press tour listening to Adam Goldstein, a.k.a. DJ AM, the top club spinner who was found dead last Friday morning at his New York City apartment, the apparent victim of a drug overdose.
Goldstein nearly died a year ago. Last September 18, he and his buddy Travis Barker from Blink 182 were the only two survivors out of six passengers when a Lear jet crashed on takeoff in South Carolina. Goldstein told TV critics gathered in Pasadena for the annual press tour in late July that he suffered second- and third-degree burns on his arms trying to put out the flames on Barker, who had jumped out of the plane first.
“There’s no reason why I should have lived or I lived and they didn’t,” he said of the other passengers. “It’s something I struggle with every day, you know, kind of wondering.” Goldstein saw himself as someone who had been given another chance, “so I have to do something better with my life this time.”
Goldstein seemed focused and intense at press tour. He’d hoped the show he was there to promote, MTV’s Gone Too Soon, would be his chance to help others. The series is about addiction and despair and Goldstein was well acquainted with both.
“I have an allergic reaction to drugs and alcohol. I break out in handcuffs,” he joked. But it was no joke. Goldstein was an addict and was a hit away from abusing drugs again, as he confessed to critics.
I had smoked pot every day growing up, and then I did coke, and then I turned to crack for a long time, and then that’s all I did. But I focused on DJ’ing, and the more I focused on that, the better I got, the further my career went. And since the beginning of my career, I’ve been in the exact opposite of sobriety. I DJ every night in a bar where people are drunk, people are trying to give me drugs or hand me a joint or something. And, ironically, I’m the one sober guy.
That didn’t sound promising. Goldstein was asked if there was one moment that made him stop getting high:
It was a moment I will never forget. I mean, from when I was 300-something pounds, I think I was the only fat crackhead that existed because I’d be up all night long doing drugs, and the next day I was so scared that you would see me and see what I’ve been doing, so I would just gorge on food. You know, I’m a gluttonous person. I like everything in large amounts. So I ballooned up. For a long time I just didn’t look at myself in the mirror.
It got so bad Goldstein tried to kill himself:
I grabbed the gun off the top of my dresser, and I put it in my mouth, and I pulled the trigger. And it jammed. And I remember sitting there thinking, “I can’t even kill myself.” I repeated fifth grade. Everything in my life, I’d just been a failure, like one thing after another.
One friend stopped to check up on him and dragged him to rehab. “That was 11 years ago,” said Goldstein. Sadly, nobody was there to save him last week.
Goldstein’s TCA session, early in the tour, was one of those where you leaned forward, caught up in the confessional, life and death nature of what he was saying. It stood in sharp contrast, for example, with more typical sessions promoting shows like The Vampire Diaries or Melrose Place. Most rehab stints don’t take, most addicts repeat, critics suggested. Goldstein seemed sincere about his second (third?) chance and especially about helping others, but there seemed something tragic about the guy, that he had just been overwhelmed by demons and depression.
The eight-part series Gone Too Far, featuring Goldstein’s interventions with young drug addicts, was scheduled to begin Oct. 5 on MTV. As of today, no decision has been made as to when or if the series will ever air.