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David Roback, Mazzy Star Founder, Dies Aged 61

David Roback, the veteran producer and multi-instrumentalist who co-founded the 90s dream-pop outfit Mazzy Star alongside Hope Sandoval, has died at the age of 61.

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David Roback and Hope Sandoval Mazzy Star
Photo: Andy Caitlin, courtesy of EMI/Capitol

David Roback, the veteran producer and multi-instrumentalist who co-founded the 90s dream-pop outfit Mazzy Star alongside Hope Sandoval, has died at the age of 61.

While no official cause of death has been confirmed, many of Roback’s friends and peers have shared their tributes to the late artist.

Roback was born and raised in Los Angeles, and started his music career with local band Unconscious, along with his brother Stephen Roback on bass and Susanna Hoffs, who would go on to become the lead singer and guitarist of The Bangles.

Along with Mazzy Star, Roback was also a leading figure in the “Paisley Underground” of California-based psychedelic scene and co-founded other influential groups like Rain Parade and Opal.

After releasing their 1983 debut Emergency Third Rail with Rain Parade, Roback left the group and went on to start Opal with Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith in the mid-80s. After Smith left the band during a tour, Hope Sandoval stepped in, and the two rechristened the group as Mazzy Star.

From 1990 and 1996, Mazzy Star released three critically acclaimed albums that fused the alt.rock of the day with dreamy pop and psychedelia, from She Hangs Brightly in 1990, So Tonight That I Might See in 1993 and Among My Swan in 1996.

While She Hangs Brightly put them on people’s radar, their major label follow-up So Tonight That I Might See turned them into full blown stars, following the breakout success of ‘Fade Into You’.

Along with overseeing production, Roback also co-wrote all of Mazzy Star’s songs with Sandoval, including 2013’s Seasons of Your Day, their fourth studio album and first in 17 years and their final release, the Still EP in 2018.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2013, following their return with Seasons of Your Day, Sandoval and Roback said Mazzy Star never actually broke up, but spent their public hiatus writing and recording songs, just not touring or releasing them.

In 2017, Mazzy Star (and Opal’s) long-time drummer, Keith Mitchell, died of cancer. The following year, the group released a new EP, Still.

This story is still developing.

Format: UK English
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