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Publication Date
7 June 2024

E3SM: A Decade of Progress: Fun Fact - The Deep Dives

Deep Dives band performing at the 2023 E3SM all Hands Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Deep Dives band performing at the 2023 E3SM all Hands Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

One of the unique features of the E3SM project is its officially sanctioned house band, the Deep Dives. The group creates covers of common tunes with E3SM-based lyrics, providing some comic relief for project issues, gentle roasting of project leaders and celebration of successes. A complete discography of all the Deep Dives’ tunes is shown below. However, the story of the Deep Dives is one of hardship, resilience and incredible serendipity. Here for the first time, we reveal the true origin of the Deep Dives.

Phil Jones (lyrics, banjo, trombone) grew up in a mixed genre family (Dad – bluegrass/old-time gospel; Mom – opera/classical) and in an environment steeped in musical humor. He was exposed, some would claim abusively, to Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer, Peter Schickele/PDQ Bach and Mason Williams. He spent his teen years playing D&D with friends while the radio (!) was tuned to Dr. Demento and the rising Weird Al Yankovic. This background not only informed his choice of instruments (trombone, banjo) but hampered his music career. He started as a Pah-meister in SW Omaha Oom-pah polka bands until he tried to get too creative with the off-beats at one too many Oktoberfests. He was also black-listed by musical theater (for playing the Stripper during the My Fair Lady ball scene) and symphony orchestras (for the infamous exploding mute incident during the 1812 Overture). Despondent over his situation and the lack of humor in the music industry, he wandered the country as an itinerant musical comedian, meeting other musicians and gathering a band as he went.

Bill Riley (guitar) recalls his background: It all started with a beat-up guitar and campfire gigs where the only thing less in tune than my guitar was my audience—mostly friends who couldn’t tell a B-flat from a flat beer. But, as fate would have it, every strum by the firelight was a step towards rock stardom. I traded the flickering flames for the blinding lights of bigger stages, climbing the rickety ladder of musical success with a mix of misplaced chords and accidental charisma. By the time I hit the E3SM stage, the legend had grown: I was the musician who’d turned campfire caterwauling into electrifying solos, charming fans and bewildered music critics alike. Who knew that the path from roasting marshmallows to rocking out at E3SM would be paved with so many off-key renditions of “Wonderwall”? Phil met Bill while hiking the Pacific Coast Trail with his banjo and stumbling upon one of Bill’s campfire sessions, leading to an epic campfire jam and an invitation to join his fledgling Deep Dives band.

As the son of “singing” duo Wazat and Icahn Hieryeh, famous for their lip-synched operatic performances in the final years of the silent film era, Peter Hieryeh was born to imagined vocal greatness. He drove his parents to distraction by audibly singing along to the Man of La Mancha soundtrack on a borrowed turntable. Leaving home at age 10 he changed his name to Thornton and joined the children’s choir of the Poke Hollow Presbyterian Church. There he found local renown in both regular and seasonal roles, until being excommunicated for failure to pay the pledged amount into his church Christmas Club account. He was discovered by an itinerant karaoke singer outside a nightclub in Altoona, PA, where he was executing an odd arrangement of East Asian dance moves while singing “Hello, Bolly” over the music from the band inside. He was soon introduced to the professional karaoke circuit and his talent and career blossomed. After years of international fame and touring, his taste for the high life began to sour. In a combination tiki bar and karaoke room in Richland, WA he happened to sit at the bar beside a man who had just performed a heart-rending version of Weird Al’s “Eat It” by singing through his trombone. This turned out to be the acclaimed lyricist Phil Jones, and by the end of the night they had made a boozy pact to never again sing the correct lyrics to a song. The rest is Deep Dives history.

Kate Evans (fiddle, vocals) grew up with musical parents and thus was forced into music lessons very early, in fact she began violin as a Suzuki student at the age of 5 and then left home after forming a Joan Jett Runaways cover band. Unfortunately, her string quartet rock band never quite made it and she found herself living in a small storeroom at Veteran’s Stadium being raised by the Philly Phanatic and picking up music tips from touring bands. It was there she also learned to run, escaping from security guards and from a West Philly crowd after trying to jam at a block party that Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff were hosting. She would make some money in the summer busking down at the Shore, at one point trying to teach a young Taylor to play fiddle near the Swift’s summer home in Stone Harbor. It was at the Shore one summer that she met up with the Deep Dives band, who were eating hoagies after gambling away the band’s earnings in Atlantic City. They heard her playing a strange electric fiddle version of “I Love Rock and Roll” and invited her to join their tour.

As an impressionable youth, Mat Maltrud (bass, guitar, percussion, sound mixing) was inspired by Dick Van Dyke’s one man band scene in “Mary Poppins” to play as many musical instruments as poorly as possible. After being disowned by his family for speaking with a horrible Cockney accent, he hit the road, touring his own one man band act (cleverly entitled “One Banned Man”) from Antlers, OK to Zeeland, MI. While busking at the Greyhound station in Clarksville, TN, he infuriated a pack of Swifties after performing an ill-conceived medley of hits from Tay-Tay’s “Red” album. Fearing for his life, he sought refuge in a rusty transportainer behind the station, which turned out to be a recording studio where the fledgling Deep Dives were recording some demo tracks. His dramatic entry was first met with stunned silence as band members took in the wild eyes, the mullet and the huge range of instruments and devices attached to his body. Then a unanimous cry of “Brilliant!” as they realized this was the critical missing piece that would take them to the next level.

Deep Dives band performing at the 2015 E3SM Fall All Hands Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Deep Dives band performing at the 2015 E3SM Fall All Hands Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Complete discography for the Deep Dives


  • Shady Grove Metro Stop (tune: Shady Grove -trad)
  • New ACME Band (tune: Black Velvet Band – trad Irish)
  • If I had 30 Million Dollars (tune: If I had a Million Dollars – Barenaked Ladies)


  • Climate Modeler’s Paradise (tune: Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio version)
  • Bad, Bad, Bader-man (tune: Bad, bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce)
  • How Long (tune: How Long Blues – Leroy Carr/Eric Clapton version)
  • Freeze Date (tune: Freeze Frame – J. Geils Band)
  • This Land Model (tune: This Land is Your Land – Woody Guthrie)
  • Leaving On A Jet Plane (tune: Leaving on a Jet Plane – J. Denver)


  • Drunk Mark Taylor (tune: Drunken Sailor – trad)
  • When Pat Cries (tune: When Doves Cry – Prince)
  • Still Fortran to Me (tune: Still Rock N Roll to Me – Billy Joel)
  • I’ll Never Smile Again (tune: I’ll Never Smile Again – T Dorsey)
  • There’s a Hole in the Ocean (tune: Hole in My Bucket, Dear Liza – trad)
  • Workflow (tune: Day-O, trad – Harry Belafonte)
  • What would Ruby Leung Say (tune: Ruby Tuesday – Rolling Stones)
  • Chain of Tools (tune: Chain of Fools – Covay, Aretha Franklin version)


  • Waiting for CIME To Do (tune: Waiting for a girl like you – Foreigner)
  • Ain’t No ENSO when CLUBB’s On (tune: Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone – Bill Withers)
  • Hello (tune: Hello, I Love You – the Doors)
  • Ringler Don’t Stop Here Anymore (tune: The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore – Jean Ritchie)


  • Come Together (tune: Come Together – Beatles)
  • Release E3SM (tune: Release Me – E Humperdinck version)
  • Little GPU (tune: GTO – Ronny and Daytonas)
  • Down to Bolger to Stay (tune: Down to the River to Pray – trad)


  • Renata (tune: Camp Grenada – Allan Sherman)
  • That Old Time Computing (tune: Old Time Religion – trad)
  • Heard It Through an Email (tune: Heard it Thru the Grapevine – Norman Whitfield, perf by many)
  • Suddenly CMOR (tune: Suddenly Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors)
  • Mathew, Mark, Luke, Jon (tune: Same name by Fairport Convention)
  • Kate (tune: Kate – Johnny Cash)
  • You Must Stay There (tune: I’ll Take You There – Staples Singers)


  • Whiskey for Breakfast (tune: same name – trad)
  • Bold Plan (tune: Soul Man – Blues Brothers version)
  • Uncle Phil (tune: Uncle John’s Band – Grateful Dead)


  • Worley-Man (tune: Wellerman Sea Shanty – trad)


  • Summertime (tune: Summertime – Gershwin/Heyward Porgy and Bess)
  • Can’t Be Found in Confluence (tune: Sounds of Silence – Simon/Garfunkel)
  • Love Me An AMOC (tune: Love Me Like A Rock – Paul Simon)



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This article is a part of the E3SM “Floating Points” NewsletterRead the full May 2024 edition.


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