Lost Bands: The Origin

When the Origin released their self-titled album on Virgin in 1990, it was with decidedly little fanfare…but if you were to take a gander at the cover now, you’d probably think, “Dude, these guys are totally trying to look like Toad the Wet Sprocket!” Seriously. I mean, here’s the cover…

…and here’s Toad:

Am I right?

In fact, it ‘s probably just coincidence, given that The Origin actually appeared at almost the same time as Toad; they just didn’t have the luxury of scoring a major radio hit to prolong their career. They did, however, have some great songs. Their debut featured songs like the pumping piano of “Growing Old,” the charming “Everyone Needs Love,” and the nice orchestration on “Who Would’ve Known.” Fans of the band, few though they may have been outside their home base, were therefore excited about the possibility of a follow-up, even though they feared that the lackluster sales of the debut might well result in the band being a one-album wonder. 1992’s Bend was almost like the work of a completely different band, however…and while I mean that in a good way now, if I’d made the same comment at the time the album was released, I probably wouldn’t have meant it that way. The group seemed less interested in ruling the charts and more interested in being themselves, tackling everything from funk to folk, though still maintaining the same melodic sensibilities. Of course, it sold accordingly…which is to say, not very well at all…but it’s still worth hunting down if you can find it.

The Origin broke up without releasing a third album, and you’d think that I’d just end this here…but, instead, I actually discovered more about the band while writing this piece, and it’s so interesting that I wanted to include it here.

I knew that the band’s de facto leader was named Michael Andrews…but what I didn’t know is that in the Origin’s original, pre-Virgin line-up was Gary Jules, who came to prominence a few years back for his cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World.” And to move from mad world to small world, it turns out that, not coincidentally, Michael Andrews not only played the spooky piano on the song, but he also did the entire score for “Donnie Darko,” the film in which Jules’ TFF cover received such tremendous attention. Andrews also was a major contributor to Brendan Benson’s One Mississippi and Jason Mraz’s Waiting For My Rocket To Come In, and he’s also the leader of the Greyboy Allstars, who can be heard on the soundtrack to “Zero Effect,” which Andrews also scored.

So that’s what Michael Andrews is doing…but if anyone knows what anyone else from the Origin is doing nowadays, drop a line or leave a posting.