Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke is by far our favorite Orange County Commissioner. Down to earth, honest, real.
By Sara O’Connor
Orange County District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke likes to rock. You can catch him several times a month at various places in Orlando, jamming with the five other members of the Low Bid Band. The commissioner will be on the rhythm guitar and vocals, along with Dave Freeman on harmonica, mandolin, percussion, and vocals; Mike Robinson on lead guitar and vocals; John Geiger on the drums and vocals; Dennis Ward on the keyboard and lead vocals; and Gary Danley on bass. The band channels their love for music into a way to give back to the community.
The Low Bid Band started a decade ago playing Christmas carols for foster kids. Since then, some members have come and gone, but the band has continued to participate in charitable activities. Commissioner Clarke’s favorite venue to play was the Bandshell in downtown Orlando, where the band played a few years ago to raise money for the Mental Health Association. Currently, the Low Bid Band plays a rotation of three venues in Orlando: The Wing Shack, Fish on Fire, and Belle Isle Bayou. The East Orlando Post caught up with Commissioner Clarke via telephone last Saturday –
East Orlando Post: What are your favorite songs to play?
Commissioner Pete Clarke: Definitely Tom Petty, The Beatles, The Stones, and CCR [Creedence Clearwater Revival].
EOP: Do you write your own songs?
CPC: We have one original right now. We will start doing more of them, but the one we have now is called “Cross City,” and it’s about Cross City, FL.
EOP: Do you have any long- or short-term goals for the band?
CPC: Just keep playing as long as we can, before we start playing at The Villages!
EOP: Is there a band on the radio today whose sound you really enjoy?
CPC: Nelly, anything on surf radio, Florida Georgia Line, Maroon 5. There are some good ones out there now.
EOP: What artist or band would you like to collaborate with?
CPC: It’d be fun to get with [Eric] Clapton, he would be the guy. And Bob Seger.
EOP: Who inspires you to do what you do?
CPC: It’s just kind of fun to do. We just have a great time at practice, and it’s a great way to release energy.
The Low Bid Band’s next show is 8pm this Saturday, October 11, at Belle Isle Bayou, 5180 South Conway Road, Orlando. They’ll also be playing October 31 at Wing Shack on East Michigan Street. For more information on the Low Bid Band, its members, and upcoming shows, visit lowbidband.com.
Sara O’Connor was born and raised in east Central Florida. After graduating with honors from Florida State University, she moved to the Great White North. After eight winter months, she came to her senses and moved back to where she could enjoy 105 degree weather.