In early 2012, a song called “Mac and Cheese” by North County musician David Rees (FreeMartin) was announced as a finalist in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition, in the children’s music category.
“The song is kind of Randy Newman meets Tom Waits,” says Rees. “As luck would have it, Tom Waits is one of the judges, along with Ozzy Osbourne and Jeff Beck, all big influences of mine.”
Rees formerly played with a local 1980s/1990s band, BigFins. “We did a lot of oldies and classic rock. Bands we played alongside at the time were Rockola, Fish and the Seaweeds, and the Rugburns.”
Since BigFins split in 1995, “I’ve been doing music and art primarily for games, software and toys...I took a job at a company called Knowledge Adventure that did JumpStart and Blaster educational games for kids. I was Art Director there for seven years and began composing music for their games.” After leaving that company in 2002, Rees became a freelancer, specializing in game music, art, and sound.
“I continue to do the JumpStart World themes, and have worked for various toy, game, and entertainment companies. One iPad children’s app that I worked on was called the Truly Great Noodle, for which they asked me to create a downloadable kids album with the theme of noodles.”
That full-length, I Believe in Pasta, featuring guest singer Bob Tedde from Rockola, as well as fellow former BigFins Ty Cox (drums) and Pat Morgan (vocals), spawned the "Mac and Cheese" song.
“When I entered the song in the [International Songwriting] Competition, I created an animated video for it which actually depicts a pig who plays in local clubs. The venue I patterned it after is Winstons in O.B.”
Based in North County, Rees' current acoustic trio FreeMartin plays frequently around San Marcos and Escondido. The band includes David Rees, Kevin Gary (Off the Wagon), and Eric Klein.
“Good musicians,” says Rees, who works out of his home studio in Vista. “We do a lot of classic rock, like Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, [and] Grateful Dead.”