David Roback, who helped create the neo-psychedelic Paisley Underground scene of the 1980s through his bands The Rain Parade and Opal before gaining his greatest acclaim alongside Hope Sandoval in Mazzy Star, died Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The reclusive songwriter and guitarist known for his stark yet evocative playing was 61. His publicist confirmed his passing, but no cause of death was immediately announced, the Times reported. His mother, Rosemary Roback, later revealed the cause was metastatic cancer, according to the New York Times.
Roback co-founded The Rain Parade with Matt Piucci and eventually drafted his brother, Steven Roback, and Will Glenn and Eddie Kalwa to fill out its ranks. The band’s 1983 debut, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, remains a high-water mark for Los Angeles’ Paisley Underground scene, which also counted The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate and The Three O’Clock as key members.
But not long after the album’s release, Roback left The Rain Parade and joined Rainy Day, a Paisley Underground supergroup of sorts — it featured members of each of the aforementioned bands — that recorded a single album of classic-rock era covers.
Moving on again, Roback formed Opal with singer-bassist Kendra Smith of The Dream Syndicate, and the band released two EPs and a full-length album, Happy Nightmare Baby, between 1984 and 1987 before Smith left the band. She was replaced by Sandoval, and the group changed its name to Mazzy Star.
Mazzy Star continued into the ’90s, scoring a huge MTV-era hit with “Fade Into You” and releasing four albums through that decade and after reuniting in the 2000s. The band most recently released an EP in 2018 after playing a string of concerts, their first in five years.
Below, some of Roback’s best-loved music — and remembrances from fellow musicians.
Peace and love David Roback…
my first musical partner and my very dear friend. You will be eternally missed. 💔 pic.twitter.com/mO1MnLDCOG
— Susanna Hoffs (@SusannaHoffs) February 25, 2020
Very Sad David Roback died
I always loved his music pic.twitter.com/UrADoJ2ds3
— J Mascis (@jmascis) February 26, 2020
Sad to hear about David Roback, a founding member of 3 legendary groups: Rain Parade; Opal; & Mazzy Star. Few musicians have been founding members of 3 important bands like that. @TanyaDonelly is the only other that immediately jumps to mind. Peace love to his friends & family.
— Bill Janovitz (@billjanovitz) February 26, 2020
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Bangles, Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade team up for California shows
- Video: Rain Parade returns after 25 years for Bobby Sutliff benefit concert in Atlanta
- Rain Parade reuniting for first time in 25 years to benefit The Windbreakers’ Bobby Sutliff
- Mazzy Star announces North American tour in support of first new album in 17 years
- Watch Mazzy Star perform ‘California’ on Fallon in first TV appearance in 20 years