Alt-Rock Legend of ‘Mazzy Star’ Dies at 61

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More sad news comes out of the music world today. BBC News reports that David Roback, the co-founder of alt-rock’s cherished “Mazzy Star,” passed away on Monday. He was 61 years old.

Musician David Roback Passes Away

Roback was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was in many bands throughout his life, including:

  • Rain Parade
  • The Sidewalks
  • Rainy Day
  • Opal (with Kendra Smith)
  • Mazzy Star (with Hope Sandoval)

Roback was a huge part of the Paisley Underground music scene in Los Angeles in the eighties. Bands would collaborate over music rich in psychedelia, vocal harmonies, guitar interplay and pop/garage rock revival. Lana Del Rey, who will perform at the 2020 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, has said Roback’s songwriting has had a major influence on her music.

Roback’s publicist confirmed his passing. The cause of death has yet to be released. We do know that Roback spent most of the last decade living in Norway, working with experimental musicians and artists like Mari Boine, Helga Sten and Guri Dahl, according to Uncut. Some might call the move part of retirement planning, but for someone as reclusive and mysterious as Roback, it could have just been a spontaneous pursuit of new musical inspiration.

Mazzy Star

Mazzy Star had a passionate fanbase throughout the nineties that’s still strong today. Roback helped write and produce all of their songs, including some of their most successful: “Fade Into You,” “Flowers in December” and “Into Dust.”

Roback played guitar, keyboard, and piano for the band.

In a 2013 interview with Uncut’s Michael Bonner, Mazzy Star spoke about their music.

“There was constantly music on the radio,” Roback said of his childhood on the west side of Los Angeles. “The Beatles made a strong impression on me. The Doors. Love. Bands like that. I just thought they were speaking from a world I really wanted to be part of.”

He continued, “In the studio, I’m usually playing guitar or keyboards. We like to get a live version we like. That’s what really appeals to us. Someone asked me recently if we were perfectionists, and I think perfection in music is really a dull thing, the imperfections of music are what give it character. Live, things happen in the moment.”

Tributes to David Roback and His Music

Many are paying tribute to David Roback across social media, including Susanna Hoffs, who grew up across the street from him.

We wish peace and healing to the family and friends of the talented David Roback.

For those just learning about Mazzy Star, you can dive into their discography through one of their biggest hits here.