Musician at Forefront of the 'Paisley Underground' Dies at 61

Mazzy Star, Rain Parade co-founder David Roback was key figure in LA's neo-psychedelia genre
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2020 5:05 AM CST

David Roback, a driving force in the neo-psychedelic genre and co-founder of California alt-rock band Mazzy Star, has died at age 61, per a representative for the band. The cause of death hasn't yet been released. In the early '80s, the producer, guitarist, and keyboardist co-founded Rain Parade, which was at the center of the "Psychedelic Underground" scene in Los Angeles. Roback was also a founding member of Opal before teaming up with Hope Sandoval to form Mazzy Star in Santa Monica in 1989. The pair wrote all of the group's songs together, creating a "gauzy sound [that] became emblematic of the era," per the Guardian. Pitchfork notes it was Mazzy Star's second album, 1993's So Tonight That I Might See, that produced their biggest commercial hit, "Fade Into You."

Per the BBC, Roback and Sanoval were "reluctant performers," though fans flocked to see them. They disappeared from the public eye in 1996, then, after a 17-year break, released Mazzy Star's final full-length album, Seasons of Your Day, in 2013. Roback told Rolling Stone at the time that he and Sandoval hadn't been slacking off during those reclusive years—just quiet. "We never stopped writing or recording," he said. "We just stopped performing and releasing things." Why? He told the Guardian: "I don't think we were really in the mood." Susanna Hoffs, co-founder and lead singer of The Bangles, also big on the Paisley Underground landscape, posted a tribute to Roback on Twitter, along with a sample of their musical collaborations. "Peace and love David Roback... my first musical partner and my very dear friend," she tweeted. "You will be eternally missed." (Read more obituary stories.)

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