The (abbreviated, believe it or not) Story of (this) Dana 


As a kid, I was obsessed with music. My parents gave me a little brown cassette player when I was four and I latched onto it as though life depended on it. I played obnoxious kids’ music so incessantly that my parents arranged for a headphone jack to be installed… and this was a good thing. Not only did it give their sanity a second chance, but it also gave me the freedom to listen to music day and night. Soon, my older siblings started to give me the tapes that they outgrew or lost interest in and so my music-hoarding habit began.


I’ve been known to create music from time to time, too. Through the years, I noodled with an assortment of instruments; including my voice. I spent an awful lot of time performing and recording, but my attention span and patience couldn’t endure the tedium of being a serious musician. Maybe I’ll pursue those talents again when I retire. *shrug*


When I was eight or nine, my sister Kati and I rigged up some old audio equipment and created our own little radio show. We told our imaginary listeners about traffic jams on streets with made up names and I’d play songs from my hand-me-down cassettes, which I’d fuss with to meticulously cue up.


Fast-forward a few years to my sister Mary’s wedding. I didn’t really know what to do with myself there. I was thirteen years old and wouldn’t have been caught dead on a dance floor. What the DJ was doing, though, caught my attention, so I spent most of the evening by his side soaking in inspiration. As a guest, I was uneasy and awkward, but once I stepped behind the DJ’s table, my outlook changed immediately. Not only did I have a front row ticket to one incredibly entertaining reality show, but I also felt like I was part of creating something great and memorable. After that night, I knew that I needed to find that feeling again.  


I had an itch and it was time. I did some brainstorming, sought advice from established DJs in the area, made a plan, borrowed some money from my parents for equipment and then I spread the word that I was a Mobile Disc Jockey. At the time, it felt like it was taking forever to catch on, but folks started to trust me with their events and I did my first wedding at just fifteen years old.


I have done an awful lot with my DJ career since then. While studying Hospitality Management in college, I dabbled with the campus radio station. Then, I graduated from Connecticut Schools of Broadcasting in 2005 and I instructed newcomers of Valley Free Radio for about two years. All the while, I continued to play for more than fifty events of all kinds each year all around New England.





So there’s another side of me that I wish to share with you all: I’m a gear-headed car fanatic. My love for cars started when I was a kid, for sure. I remember collecting matchbox cars and spending a lot of time just looking them over. I loved the shapes and curves and how the parts so cleverly fit together. I don’t remember ever outwardly expressing my passion for cars – I never hung posters of sports cars on my walls … nor were there ever scaled models on my shelves … and I certainly didn’t hang around the “gear heads” in high school. No swap meets … no exotic car shows… I just sort of secretly adored cars on my own.


I wasn’t old enough to drive when I bought my first car. It was a heap of junk, but the perfect canvas for racing stripes and Bondo. I have owned a lot of cars since that first one … sometimes as many as six at a time. “What do you do with SIX cars?!” might you ask? Well … I spend a lot of time just looking them over. I love the shapes and curves and … you guessed it … I love how the parts so cleverly fit together. I love to feel horsepower in the seat of my pants and the wind in my hair. I love all of this enough to endure the ridiculous insurance bills that come every month.


I enjoy modifying my cars and making them a reflection of myself. My Volkswagen Baja Beetle has to be the craziest of them all. It’s a good old fashioned bug with the roof cut off and doors removed. The engine is beefed up to about twice the factory horsepower. It has a roll cage and 5-point harness seat belts. Best of all, it’s road-legal. I’ve been having a blast sawing parts off and welding supports on in a slew of places.  


Now, please understand that I just can’t sit still. I become miserable very quickly when I don’t feel as though I’m being productive. My mind never rests and I am constantly (and rightfully) accused of being a workaholic, so it’s just natural that I maintain a full time job in addition to being a DJ: I'm "The Mechanic" at Cahillane Auto Body on Damon Road in Northampton, where I get to play with cars all day long.