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POP MUSIC : Origin Leapfrogs Its Way Into Album Production

As a rule, San Diego rock bands that get picked up by major, nationally distributed record companies are seasoned veterans of the local nightclub circuit. Take the Beat Farmers, Ratt, and Robert Vaughn and the Shadows--all of whom had gigged incessantly around town, for years and years, before their respective signings to MCA/Curb, Atlantic, and Island Records.

The Origin is one of the rare exceptions to that rule. Instead of stepping out of the garage and into the clubs, the La Jolla quartet went directly to the recording studio, cutting a series of demonstration tapes that the group proceeded to send out to major record companies around the country.

After several nibbles and a pair of “pay-to-play” showcases last spring at the Roxy and the Whiskey in Los Angeles, the Origin was offered a deal by Virgin Records.

The group’s lively, acoustic-oriented debut album, produced by David Kershenbaum (whose previous production credits include albums by Joe Jackson and Tracy Chapman), was released last month and got some pretty nice reviews.

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“One of the freshest bands you’ll hear all year,” said radio tip sheet the Album Network. “From the piano pounding in the first note, it’s almost impossible not to nod your head to the beat.”

And Hits magazine, a national trade weekly, hailed the Origin (and two other California bands) for “reshaping . . . their own blend of Mersey and Manchester . . . into a new form of Pacific pop.”

Virgin has since released “Growing Old” as the album’s first single; the accompanying video was filmed in the back of a pottery factory by the director of U2’s “With or Without You.”

In the meantime, the Origin, including members Michael Andrews, Daniel Silverman, Topper Rimel and Rony Abada, hit the road for a promotional tour.

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No word yet on a San Diego date.

Singer Susie Hug and guitarist Adam Seymour of the Katydids arrived in Los Angeles yesterday for the official unveiling of the highly touted British pop band’s debut album.

They held a press conference at the Burbank offices of Reprise Records, then gave a round of private interviews to a gathering of rock critics.

En route from London, the pair had stopped off in San Diego, Hug’s adopted hometown, where they spent the Memorial Day weekend visiting family and friends. Last Saturday night, they tried to get into the Bacchanal in Kearny Mesa to catch a show by Nine Inch Nails, but someone had forgotten to put their names on the guest list, so they went downtown and took a walk through Horton Plaza.

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LINER NOTES: The Eclipse is the latest in a long line of San Diego original-music bands to issue its own record. The quartet’s four-song EP, available on cassette only, is now on sale at the three local Tower Records and Off the Record stores and at Lou’s Records in Encinitas, Slash ‘n’ Crash Records in Mission Beach, and Blue Meannie Records in El Cajon. . . .

Last Sunday night’s “Green for Ireland” benefit concert at Iguanas in Tijuana raised more than $1,000 for Scott Ireland’s medical expenses. The lead singer-guitarist of local power trio the Pulltoys broke his neck during an April 29 video shoot. . . .

Tickets go on sale Thursday at 3 p.m. for two upcoming concerts at San Diego State University’s Montezuma Hall: the Church with Blue Aeroplanes, July 17, and Michael Penn with Lloyd Cole and Victoria Williams, July 18. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for UB40 and the Smithereens’ July 8 concert at San Diego Sports Arena, and for Basia’s July 19 appearance at Civic Theater downtown. Friday at 3 p.m., tickets go on sale for Oingo Boingo’s June 27 show at SDSU’s Open Air Theater. And Saturday at 10 a.m., tickets go on sale for two more Open Air Theater shows: Erasure with Wire, June 16, and Rickie Lee Jones with Lyle Lovett, July 7.. . .

This week’s concerts: Reggae Sunsplash ’90, featuring Burning Spear, Freddie McGreggor, Marcia Griffiths, Shinehead, Shelly Thunder, U-Roy, the 809 Band, and Tommy McCowan M.C., Thursday at the Open Air Theater; Michelle Shocked and the Captain Swing Revue with John Wesley Harding, Thursday at the Bacchanal; Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, Thursday at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach; Seduction, Friday at Club Oh! in Tijuana; Iron Mountain String Band, Saturday at Del Mar Shores Auditorium; Hurricane with Shark Island, Sunday at the Bacchanal; the Wailers, June 5 at Belly Up Tavern.

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