A Mall-Rat with a Mis-fit Heart

sasharodriguez Words by Edward Burke

Photo by James Lockridge

Over  atmospheric, traditional Asian folk music, and hot cups of Chinese tea whose aroma was reminiscent of a burning woodpile, I sat down and chatted with Louisiana-born and bred, Burlington, Vermont-based disc jockey,  former music journalist, and indie-rock drummer Sasha Rodriquez at Burlington's Dobra Tea Room. Sasha has lived in Vermont for five and a half years after working for six years for commercial radio in New York, and has been crankin' up the airwaves at 'The Radiator' 105.9-FM WOMM-LP Burlington since March of 2008.

Her show, 'Mallrat Matinee,' which airs Thursdays 9-10, (or sometimes 9-12 noon), brings the sounds of the 80's-2000's punk and pop scene to Burlington, compliments of the numerous mix tapes she has made herself since her teen years. She used to share the mic and her time slot with her husband Chris Beneke, and back then their radio show was entitled 'Misfit Matinée' which was the name given to a series of musical events  a few years ago at Burlington's The Radio Bean, where The Fatal Flaws, Sasha and Chris' Burlington-based, indie rock band, held residency. Similar to artists such as The White Stripes and George Thoroughgood, Chris plays guitar while Sasha holds down the beat with the drum kit. Now a duo, they started out as a trio with a second guitarist whose style reminded Sasha of George Thoroughgood.

Sasha feels 'The Radiator' is a good place to learn how a radio station is run “because it's very low stakes; you don't worry about ratings. You can express yourself as much as you want," and she also makes the distinction between commercial radio and stations like 'The Radiator': “Commercial radio is reactive; they react to what the customers want, while 'The Radiator' is expective." Rather than trying to play what they think the people want, the DJs play what they themselves think is beautiful; hence the music that inspires them most. The DJs at 'The Radiator' expect that someone will be out there listening.

Sasha also encourages people to volunteer for 'The Radiator,' saying that “those who put the most into it will get the most out of it... the station is small, new,  and needs a lot of work to be done for it." Sasha lives up to this maxim, as she loves playing around with computers. She has a desire to record promos and the like using the program Garage Band.

Her go-getter spirit today was just as noticeable in her teens; she loved to be out and about with her friends at the mall, hence her show title 'Mallrat Matinée.' She loved, and still loves, clothes. She likened herself and her friends in their teenage years, their group of mall-rats, to a “bunch of human peacocks," and that she used to be a “goth chick with big, black hair." (I assured her that the picture readers will see above this DJ bio would be a recent photo).

To add to her impressive resume of past radio work, and the fact that she is in a band, she also revealed that she speaks fluent Spanish, is learning French, and took German in college. Not bad for a Mallrat and a Misfit, eh?