David Roback Dead - Mazzy Star Co-Founder Dies at 61

Brenda Watkins
February 27, 2020

"Fade Into You" peaked at number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The news was confirmed to NPR in a press release from Roback's management sent on Tuesday evening. No cause of death has been announced. The Byrds, The Doors, The Velvet Underground and its sublime visions, Pink Floyd's psychedelia, the proto-punk of Jonathan Richman and the power-pop of Big Star could all be heard throughout the Paisley Underground's work.

Mazzy Star are best known for their seminal ballad Fade Into You from their 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See. The song has recently been rediscovered by Taylor Swift fans, after people noted its influence on her Grammy-nominated single Lover. The pair's subsequent recordings, Among My Swan from 1996 and Seasons of Your Day from 2013, were equally luminous, in the overcast way of Mazzy Star, though less lauded.

In the band's downtime, Roback had produced songs for Beth Orton and moved to Norway, where he became involved with Norwegian musicians and made experimental music for films and installations.

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In 2017, Mazzy Star's long-time drummer, Keith Mitchell, died.

David's first band Unconscious started in 1975. He'd worked with Dream Syndicate vocalist Kendra Smith on an album called Rainy Day, a collection of 60s covers by various Paisley Underground luminaries - if you want a hint of the direction Roback was heading in, Rainy Day's stark version of the Buffalo Springfield's Flying on the Ground is Wrong offers an intriguing signpost - and together they formed Opal. "I always loved his music", guitarist and songwriter J Mascis tweeted. Andy Bell of Ride and Oasis-fame said Roback's bands had "opened my ears in the mid 80s".

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