Lara Mondae – I began my radio career in 1993 at one of the most indie rock leaning commercial radio stations in the country, 92.7fm (WCBR). I learned the ropes of how to fly the airwaves by interning for Doug Levy (former DJ at XRT), eventually earning an on air shift weekend overnights. Next stop was Loyola’s 88.7 fm (WLUW) DJ’ing afternoon and drive time shifts for six years, where I crafted radio shows plucking vinyl from my personal collection.
On to WXRT. I feel so grateful that Chicago has a station that cares so much about the music and when I came to the station I was so thrilled. My first show was July 18th, 2013, and the first song I played which was programmed for me was David Bowie’s “Fame”. I turned the volume up to 11.
My first records were Neil Young’s Harvest and Led Zeppelin’s IV. I played them until their surfaces were as scratched as the surface of an ice rink.
My first rock show at the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati: Van Halen’s first tour opening for the original Black Sabbath. A room full of brightly burning lighters begged the bands to begin, and thanked them again at the end. General admission was the floor area and you could get as close as you wanted to the stage. I was only 12 and the event left me wildly enamored. Black Sabbath just blew my young mind, they were so good, intense, outright frightening actually.
Aside from my time on the air at XRT, I promote music through design, creating art for albums, cd’s, t-shirts, posters, and the like. I’ve designed records for a lot of bands to name a few…The Blacks, The Jayhawks, Andrew Bird, and The High Llamas, Peter Walker and even a 7″ split single with Allen Ginsberg for a spoken word series. I occasionally spin at The Charleston and Big Star. I am the music director at The Violet Hour. I remain an avid vinyl collector. I also love films. But that gets its own encyclopedia entry. Another volume of my past…after twelve years at a small graphic design boutique with culturally exciting clients (SAIC, Chicago Cultural Center), I spent two years desiging at Encylopaedia Brittanica.
To promote music in the past I booked and curated a month long artist residency at hideout for Liam Hayes and Plush: Month of Sunday residencies with performances by Liam Hayes of Plush. Performances varied with amazingly talented and well known guest performers and opening acts. As well as a one time event called “The Violet Sessions” in the back room of the ViIolet Hour. It was open tot he puplic and the first sessionfeatured a band specifically organized for the occasion by Jim Becker of Califone with other well known Chicago musicians.
I can be heard Wednesday at 12-5:30am and Saturday nights at 12-5:00am.
Rare concert experiences:
Terry Reid on an unusually rainy night in LA at On The Roxy- an intimate setting with a small audience that included Joni Mitchell.
Robyn Hitchcock in England on my birthday. Saxophonist Terry Edwards (Higsons) opened and it was the first time Kimberley Rew (Softboys) (“Walking on Sunshine”) played with Hitchcock in many years.
Radiohead at Tower Records unexpected instore performance
Guided by Voices at Lounge Ax
James Carr at Rosa’s
Jimmy Scott at the Fairmont
Morphine at the Elbo room. Mark Sandman invited me out to a play, I took him to dinner at Opart Thai on Western.
Favorite Chicago Restaurants:
The Violet Hour
Music Box Theater
Read My Blog: http://wxrt.cbslocal.com/personality/lara-mondae/
Design Portfolio: www.laramondaedesign.com