Travis Barker Carries on Spirit of DJ AM Team-Up With A-Trak

February 26, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Nearly three years ago, Alain Macklovitch, better known as DJ A-Trak, was holed up in a Los Angeles studio rehearsing with his longtime touring partner Kanye West for the hip-hop mogul's Graduation tour. On a break, he bumped into DJ AM, who "told me he was working on some stuff for Travis Barker," A-Trak recalls. AM and Barker, it turns out, were priming material for a drums and vinyl-scratching duo that would become known as TRAVI$DJ-AM — a partnership that lasted until AM's drug overdose in August 2009, less than a year after the pair survived a horrific plane crash.

Look back at photos of DJ AM with Barker and more famous friends.

Now A-Trak is carrying on his lost pal's work: the Blink-182 drummer and Montreal turntablist recently announced they will kick off a new drummer-DJ collaboration with a pair of shows at the Roxy in Hollywood on March 9th and 10th, followed by performances in Las Vegas and at SXSW.

A-Trak says the new partnership was born several months ago when Barker, who hasn't performed with a DJ since AM's sudden death, reached out and said he was ready to return to the stage. After seeing some of A-Trak's L.A. gigs and meeting him briefly at Coachella several years ago, Barker was prepared to offer the DJ known for his mashing of electronic and hip-hop music the job. A-Trak, who has remixed and produced for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kid Cudi, admits he had some initial reservations. "On one hand I was very flattered," he recalls, but "part of me definitely wondered, 'Do I want to step into AM's shoes?' "

Still unsure, A-Trak trekked cross-country to Barker's L.A. studio to jam and see if there was a "connection on the music side." After laying down some of his signature skuzzy beats over Barker's machine-gun snare rolls and crashing cymbals, A-Trak could tell the two instantly "gelled." "It flowed really easily," he says.

Now the pair are preparing to show off their new partnership, which A-Trak says is rooted in hip-hop. "I've been fiending for some sort of opportunity to do something that's more technical and more of a performance and that's where I see this Travis and A-Trak thing going," he says. "Travis reached out his hand to me. If he feels ready to [perform] with another DJ and keep this idea going, then I'm all for it."

Related Stories:
Blink-182’s Travis Barker Pays Tribute to DJ AM Onstage

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

More Song Stories entries »