David Roback, Mazzy Star and Opal co-founder, dies at 61

Mazzy Star guitarist David Roback
Mazzy Star co-founder David Roback dead at 61. Pic credit: Alternative on MV/YouTube

Guitarist David Roback, a founding member of the alternative rock band Mazzy Star, died on Monday, February 24, at 61. His publicist confirmed his death to NBC News.

No cause of death was revealed.

Roback, a guitarist, keyboardist, and producer, was originally active in the neo-psychedelic Paisley Underground music scene in Los Angeles, California, in the ’80s.

He co-founded the group Rain Parade, an influential group in the Paisley Underground.

He left Rain Parade in 1983 after the group released its first album, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, and joined Rainy Day.

He left Rainy Day to team up with bassist, vocalist, and former Dream Syndicate member, Kendra Smith, to form Opal.

Roback and Hope Sandoval formed Mazzy Star in 1989

Opal released an EP and their debut album, Happy Nightmare Baby, in 1987, under the SST Records label.

Singer Hope Sandoval joined Opal after Smith left, and in 1989, Roback and Hope changed the band’s name to Mazzy Star.

The group’s debut album, She Hangs Brightly, was released in 1990. The album included singles such as Blue Flower, Halah, and Ghost Highway.

Mazzy Star went on to release a second studio album, So Tonight That I Might See, in 1993, after signing with Capitol. The album included the hit single, Fade Into You.

Fade Into You was Mazzy Star’s only single to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song peaked at number 44.

The group released its third studio album, Among My Swan, in 1996. The album included memorable hits, such as Flowers in December, I’ve Been Let Down, Disappear, and Happy.

Mazzy Star went into hiatus after releasing third studio album

After Mazzy Star went into hiatus in 1997, Roback worked with other singers, including the English singer Beth Orton and the Scottish folk singer Bert Jansch.

He worked with Orton on her album Central Reservation released in 1999.

He wrote songs for actress Maggie Cheung featured in the film Clean (2004). Roback also appeared in the movie as himself.

In 2011, Mazzy Star reunited to release a double A-sided single Common Burn/Lay Myself Down.

Mazzy Star also released its fourth studio album, Seasons of Your Day, in 2013, under its independent record label Rhymes of An Hour.

Mazzy Star’s music has been featured in several TV shows and films, such as Rick and Morty, Netflix’s Tall Girl, and American Horror Story, according to PEOPLE.

Roback was born in Los Angeles in April 1958. He graduated from Palisades High School in 1975.  He formed his first band, The Unconscious, with his brother Stephen after he left high school.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments