MANKATO — We're willing to go out on a limb here and say there are only two people in Mankato who have interviewed so many celebrities.
Two happening dudes — who make no money doing it — have for years been saying to each other, “Who would be somebody cool to talk to on the show this week?” And then oftentimes, whatever name pops out of their mouths, they make it happen.
Dustin Wilmes and Juston “Ton” Cline of “The Five Count” on 89.7 FM, the independent KMSU Radio station, have interviewed John C. Reilly, Jesse Ventura and “Weird Al” Yankovic, to name a few.
But some of the funnest shows (if you were a child of the '90s like they were) are the interviews with people mostly popular back in the day — Jaleel White (Steve Urkel), Michael Bower and Danny Cooksey (Donkeylips and Budnick of “Salute Your Shorts”), and even one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
This summer the two have compiled the most jam-packed roster of celeb interviews yet.
We talked with the fellas about how their idea for such a unique series of guest shows began and where they hope to take it from here.
Free Press: You're going on 10 years of doing “The Five Count” on KMSU. What's kept you excited to keep doing the show every week for that long?
Dustin Wilmes: It’s still fun! The show has changed and evolved over the years, but at its core it’s still just an opportunity to hang out with my buddy Ton, be obnoxious, play some cool music, and chat with some people we admire. I still look forward to it every week.
Juston Cline: I agree, it remains fun and interesting. Never in my life did I expect to be doing the things I have on the show and to have a pal to do it with is extra special.
FP: When you first started doing the show, was it your goal to be doing band and celebrity interviews? Or when and with whom did that begin?
DW: We did our first “celebrity interview” about six months after we started the show with an actor named Bill Moseley. He was in a lot of horror films and stuff we liked and was a real nice guy. We’ve always had interviews here and there, but we didn’t start doing them on a regular basis until like four or five years ago. There’s a never-ending list of people we would like to have on the show.
JC: Talking with Bill Moseley in the beginning was really cool but I never expected it to be the premise of the show. It just sort of went that way on its own.
FP: You seem to take a different approach to lining up these guests. Most media select people to interview who are of interest to the public right now (maybe they have a concert in Mankato coming up, or they just released an album or film). You seem to choose people from your past, whom you personally have an interest in talking to. Did you worry that would be a risk with your audience?
DW: We go through a lot of those same channels, too. We keep an eye on who is playing a show in the area, who has a book coming out, who just recorded an album, etc. Other times we just say, “Hey, I wonder what this person is up to now” and then try to find them.
Since we aren’t presenting these interviews in a “news context” like a lot of other media outlets, we’re able to pick and choose who we want to have on. We’ve had a pretty eclectic mix of guests over the years, so if you don’t care for someone we have on one week, there’s a chance you’ll love the person we have on the next.
JC: We have followed that format to some degree but ultimately this is volunteer public radio and part of the fun in that is being able to do what you want on some levels. So we try to make sure we are talking to celebrities that are truly interesting to us.
FP: This summer seems to have been particularly packed with high-profile interviews. Who have been some of your favorites so far and why?
DW: Every year we always wonder how we’ll top the year before. For me, we’ve had a lot of “bucket list” people this summer. “Weird Al” Yankovic, John C. Reilly, Les Claypool, Crispin Glover, Larry Graham, the list goes on and on.
I’ve been a huge fan of these people for years. I always become a bigger fan of someone when we have them on the show and they turn out to be cool and down-to-earth. Luckily, that’s been the case across the board for the most part.
JC: It's pretty cool how often we end up in that conversation of, “How can we top that?!” But it just keeps happening.
For me this year talking with Bill Manspeaker of Green Jelly and Sean Yseult, formerly of White Zombie, was equally as awesome as all those big names.
FP: Looking back over nine years, who have been your overall favorites and why?
DW: Most of my favorites are people I loved growing up. Talking with Townsend Coleman, who did the voice of “Michelangelo” on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, would’ve blown 10-year-old Dustin’s mind.
Another one was our interview with Fred Wesley. This guy was the band leader for James Brown and George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic. He had a hand in some of the greatest music ever recorded.
We had Jesse “The Body” Ventura on a while back. I know not everyone is a fan of his, but it was his commentary during wrestling matches I watched as a kid that made me want to be an announcer. I could go on and on.
JC: Since we really do seek out people that we are fans of, the list can get pretty long. Tommy Shannon, bass player for Stevie Ray Vaughan in Double Trouble was a really big one for me. Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry, Mean Gene Okerlund, Matt “Dr.” Fink of Prince and the Revolution and all the different funk musicians we have interviewed. It’s really been amazing.
FP: KMSU is a small, independent radio station. How are you getting people like Weird Al to be on your show?
DW: It’s a lot of phone calls and emails and finger-crossing. Lots of hit and miss, but luckily we’ve “hit” some pretty cool ones over the years.
The funny thing is “The Five Count” started out as this weird, late-night radio show that people stumbled upon by accident. Nearly 10 years later, after all the celebrities and contests and giveaways, we’re still like that secret oddity KMSU keeps chained up in the attic. It’s like that book “Flowers in the Attic,” but funnier.
JC: I have been trying to get Chuck Norris on the phone for years but his publicist keeps telling me he’s stuck in the forest some place defending his family. But I don’t stop trying! (True story.)
FP: At your five-year anniversary mark, you said Little Richard, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and The Fat Boys were your dream guests. Has that changed?
DW: We actually did manage to get both the surviving Fat Boys on a couple years ago. Sadly, Randy “Macho Man” Savage passed away before we could get him on. We are still working on Little Richard.
JC: This list evolves as we keep making our own dreams come true. Sly Stallone, I’m looking in your direction.
FP: What's up next if people tune in during upcoming weeks?
DW: We are booked solid with interviews and other nonsense for the rest of 2013. We know people like to do things on their own terms these days, so you can always check out our shows in podcast-form on our website at www.thefivecount.com.
JC: We have all kinds of awesome lined up so just do yourself a favor and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the YouTube channel. You will thank me later.
If You Listen What "The Five Count," with Dustin Wilmes and Juston "Ton" Cline When 10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on KMSU 89.7 FM Call-ins are welcome at 800-456-7810. For more information and to live stream, visit www.thefivecount.com.