Musically, this song was all me. I wrote it in my Provo apartment and the original version, the one we played live, was far more skanky/ska than this recorded version. The tracking sessions for this song pretty much paved the way for the punk jazz band that several of us formed after this called Swimpigs. I’ve got our CD somewhere. Even though this is super mellow hits sounding, it was the fuel for the free form jazz odyssey that we turned into Swimpigs.
When we tracked this, we decided to play it more jazz/lounge at the urging of Merkley (his site is very NSFW). I can’t remember if the bass was a real standup bass or something else. Kent, the bassist, eventually bought an electrified standup that was spectacular and I think that’s what he used on this. My piano sounds, on the other hand were provided by a cheapy E-mu Proformance piano module that sounds to 2011 ears like total ass. I wished I’d have rented something better for the tracking sessions, but I didn’t think that way at the time.
This song lyrically also recalls the early 90s: the Rodney King verdict & riot, the anti-Clinton sentiment in Utah and Idaho, Ruby Ridge and the rising skinhead/Aryan nation horseshit that we were seeing at some of our shows and that was getting time on local newscasts. In the 1992 election, Utah was the only state that Clinton was behind Ross Perot in votes.
There are some dense chords in the song and I’m proud that I got to use them in front of a lot of sexually frustrated people who could dance and sweat and not necessarily know that I was pulling diminished 13ths out of my ass.
The title for this song came from a Harry Shearer/Martin Short short on Saturday Night Live where they were going to the Olympics as the only male duo synchronized swim team (the actual “we have many moods… happy… underwater…” quote is missing from this video excerpt):
Christopher Guest is spectacular in this as well. Spectacular.[audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/dooce/15_Happy_Underwater_Remastered.mp3]
Direct download: Happy, Underwater; MP3, 320kbps
Rod has a great crooner voice that we really only utilized a tiny bit.