"TRINITY" - behind the song with bob karwin
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Today we take a look at “Trinity,” one of the songs from Bob Karwin’s recent album, The Miles Between. The following dialogue was taken from Episode #6 of the Trop Rock 101 Podcast. It’s been lightly edited for clarity.
So “Alan The Taxi Man” is the first single, but “Trinity” is the song that’s really caught my ear. I don't know why. Let’s talk about it a little bit.
So that song has an interesting history. I was sitting at Blue Heaven in Key West, having breakfast as so many of us have, we’ve been sitting in that same situation. I looked down in the middle of my breakfast and I realized that sitting in front of me on the table, there was a glass of water, a cup of coffee and a Bloody Mary. And I thought to myself, “wow”, that's the Holy Trinity of Key West right there. And then I immediately asked somebody to borrow a napkin and a pen, and wrote it down. So originally it was going to be a song about that. It was going to be a drinking song about a Key West breakfast and that kind of thing.
Then I went down to do a show in Mexico with Mike Nash and Mark Mulligan. So I ran the song by Mike. And what was hilarious was that Mike was seven sheets to the wind. He was blasted. And when I ran it by him and he says, “What if Trinity is a girl?” And then he passed out. So I didn't have to give him a writing credit cause he doesn't remember any of it, which was fantastic.
So what I did was I went back and thought about the song a little bit. And I said “Okay, what if there's a girl who is represented by all of those?” She has all of those elements in her, all the different parts. So the song really starts at BO'S Fish House, the shack in Key West and travels down through the square, down Duvall, and all the way to the pier out by Louie's Backyard. And that's kind of where the song travels from.
And I wrote it about Trinity, that’s the name of a girl and she works at the fish house, which she likes to sing. And the guy falls in love with her and all that other kind of stuff. And then at the end of the song, Donny said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we had a girl, and you actually get to meet Trinity." And so he called up Robin Tricker and Robin comes on at the end of the song, you just hear her going "la de da da da" and she's doing the thing that I'm describing through the whole song with a little ukulele on it. And it just completely elevated it to a different level because you don't expect her just to drop in at the end of the song. And it's like, Hey, there she is. There's Trinity. So that, that song, and we got a little reggae thing going with it, which gives it that Island feel. So it all kind of came together. I really liked it.
I was going to ask you who that was. I figured it was Robin, but I did not know for sure. Now I know!
Also all the bridge in that song, what kind of effects did Donny use on your vocals?
That was my idea.
Yeah, it's called a phaser. You can hear it a lot. It's mostly for guitars, but what I wanted was for things to sound like they were spinning in a circle, kind of psychedelic at the time. And so when my daughter first heard it, when I played it for her for the first time, I said “What'd you think of that middle part?” She says, “It sounds like you're underwater.” I'm like, “Yeah. That's exactly it” because it matches with, you know, it's just the water in your glass and it's sounds like you're spinning in a circle. There was a band called Jellyfish that was kind of psychedelic and stuff. And I was thinking of them when we added that. It just set it apart and it really worked. So yeah, it was really cool.