Ditty lauds indy candidate, but it won't get much air time

Ditty lauds indy candidate, but it won't get much air time

Independent House candidate Pete Belcastro has received a contribution he loves but isn't sure what to do with.

It's a thumping campaign song, sung in the style of Pete Seeger labor songs of the 1930s, declaring that Belcastro is an independent voice who "will fight for you and me" and ask "where's the beef?"

The song would make a great TV spot, but Belcastro says he doesn't have the campaign funds to run it. It's posted on YouTube under "Ring the Belcastro" and has aired on Rogue Valley Community Television and a KMED radio talk show.

George J. Clark of Ashland, who wrote and sang the song, brought it to a Belcastro campaign meeting. Listeners found it stuck in their heads and they couldn't stop humming it, said Belcastro.

"I turned red with embarrassment, but after hearing it a few times, I was only pink," said Belcastro. "It's a very wonderful thing to have. It kind of grows on you over time. It's a unique contribution to the campaign and it shows contributions don't have to be about money."

"Pete is such a friendly and nice guy, it came real easy," noted Clark, who said he composes and sings locally as an amateur. "It sounds like a rally song in football, and that went with Pete's work as a sportscaster. It was pretty funny. It surprised him."

Clark's guitar bears the slogan, "This machine kills gridlock," in imitation of the legend on Seeger's guitar that read, "This machine kills fascists."

Belcastro's campaign consultant, Kim Lewis, who directed the song, said, "It blew me away, very clever and fun, something for the common man."

The song was produced by the Maentz Agency in Medford.

Belcastro said the Depression-era style reminds him of Oregon history, the struggle for public power and growing up on the family ranch in Klamath Falls.

Belcastro's opponent, Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, watched the ditty on YouTube and said, "Oh, my gosh. I wish my oldest brother was still alive. He'd do a darn good song. It would be folk-rock and talking about the need for education and health care. The song is like his campaign — a lot of comment about what's wrong and no constructive solutions."

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at

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