Las Vegas-based Danny “the Count” Koker not only stars in the reality TV show Counting Cars but also leads the hard rock band Count’s 77, which plays, fittingly enough, at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver this weekend. Count’s 77 appearance at the Hard Rock coincides with the Ultimate Car Show taking place at the casino July 18, where more than 350 classic, muscle and specialty vehicles will be on display from 2 to 6 p.m.
During a phone interview this week from his office at Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas, his shop dedicated to the repair and restoration of (mostly) classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, the affable Koker shared some personal stories with the Courier.
Vancouver Courier: What came first, your love of cars or music?
Danny Koker: My love of music came about as a kid because of my father who was a musician, but my love of cars happened at the same time because of my family and growing up in Detroit. Most of my relatives worked at the Ford Motor Company at one time or another. My dad brought me up with music and I used to sing with him. He was also my senior business partner until 2008 when we lost him. I miss him every day.
VC: A big part of the show involves you driving around and stopping random people with unusual vehicles or knocking on doors to ask about a car in the driveway. Have you ever had a negative reaction?
DK: Without a doubt. I’ve had the police called on me and have met some really angry people, because sometimes they’re just not in the mood. This is something I’ve been doing for years and the producers wanted to incorporate real elements to the show so it worked. It’s much easier now that the TV show is on.
VC: What’s your favourite vehicle?
DK: I’m a Cadillac freak. I just love those big, bad pimpin’ bad boys from the ’60s and ’70s.
VC: You have an extensive car collection. Is there a vehicle out there you’ve always wanted but still don’t possess?
DK: It’s a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV. The first one was built in 1966 and coined the phrase “exotic car.” That phrase was never used before.
VC: What’s your favourite original equipment V8 motor?
DK: That has to be the small block Chevy because it’s stood the test of time. It started out in 1955 as the 265 V8 and that platform has been around for years with minimal change.
VC: What has been your most touching moment on the show?
DK: When we first started this show I never expected it to evolve into being so much about people and their stories. It was the [singer] Barry White episode that really got to me. His wife Glodean asked me to find his final car, the one he was driving before his death. When it was done and revealed to her, the emotions were beyond containment. Even after the cameras stopped rolling we stood in the parking lot and cried like babies.
VC: Where do you see your restoration business in 10 years?
DK: I see it continuing to grow. We have a wait list of between two to three years. The TV show is a fantastic thing, and I don’t know how long it will last, but even after the show ends Count’s Kustoms will continue.
VC: What’s next for Count’s 77?
DK: The band has been together for years and we released our first record in 2014. We’ve been in the studio for months working on our second record. I work all week on the TV show, but then fly out on the weekends to play. I love it.