Jason Cooley

Words by Tom Deterling

Photos by Jim Lockridge

Jason Cooley is the host of ‘The Mixtape’ which airs at 9 pm on Wednesday nights – right here on The Radiator. For almost two years he has been bringing a wide variety of music to the airwaves. Growing up, Jason got into bands like The Beatles, Kiss and other classic rock acts. Up until the age of fifteen he was also a big fan of hair metal until he discovered punk rock. His adventure into punk exposed him to different sounds that he would have otherwise never discovered. As Jason matured, he learned to appreciate all types of music – country, disco, glam, noise, 60s garage rock – even getting back into hair metal. Despite being a DJ, his appreciation for all genres of music does not solely come from listening to it, but creating it as well.

Since 1994, Jason has been involved with the Burlington music scene in multiple capacities. Upon meeting local bands The Pants, The Fags and James Kochalka, he was brought into the Burlington fold. After being taught bass by Eugene of The Fags, Jason’s musical journey began. He started off playing bass with The Fags from 1994 – 1996, as well as drumming for Muffin in 1995, despite not knowing how to play drums. In 1995, he began playing bass and guitar for James Kochalka Superstar, a group to which he still belongs to. Jason has also played for Bag of Panties (1997 – 1999), Wide Wail (2001), the New York City disco punk band Heloise & The Savoir Faire (2004 – 2006) and he even still plays bass and sings for Led LO/CO like he has since 1999. Jason also has experimental projects under the name of School Bus and Reorder Narcotic. Unsuspecting bar patrons can even find him “obnoxiously singing karaoke in a suit under the name Koolaoke.”

Jason came to join the Big Heavy crew after playing several shows that were organized by the foundation. As for becoming a DJ, it was something that always was part of Jason’s life. “I used to make a lot of mixtapes for girls and listen to WRUV all the time while I was in high school,” Jason explains. “Then I actually had a show on WRUV. I’ve also been a DJ for The Bunny.” The Bunny itself is an on-site station setup for the larger Phish festivals. It provides live music for those who couldn’t make it to the show, or anyone who just wants to hear some live Phish. One thing is clear though when listening to ‘The Mixtape’, Jason just loves playing music.

‘The Mixtape’ is all about variety; Jason tries his best to play all sorts of music to draw in the listeners. “I’m just standing there listening to music like I would in my living room and talking as briefly as possible;” Jason describes of his show. “I really like it when people call or write and ask ‘who are you playing right now?’ I want to turn people on to music they’ve never heard and vice-versa.” Listeners of ‘The Mixtape’ can be assured one thing: that it is all about the music. As Jason says, “music equals good.”

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