Published Feb 25, 2020David Roback — known best as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter and co-founder of Mazzy Star — has died. Roback's passing was confirmed by a representative for the band, though a cause of death was not identified. Roback was 61.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Roback and brother Stephen were active in the city's famed Pailsey Underground scene as members of psych revival outfit Rain Parade. The band released cult-classic debut album Emergency Third Rail Power Trip in 1983, with Roback leaving the group shortly afterwards.
Roback then co-founded trio Clay Allison with bassist/vocalist Kendra Smith (ex-Dream Syndicate) and drummer Keith Mitchell, soon changing their name to Opal. Following EPs in 1984 and 1985, the band made their debut with Happy Nightmare Baby in 1987.
Smith would soon leave Opal in the midst of touring behind the band's debut with the Jesus & Mary Chain, leading to Hope Sandoval joining as her replacement. Roback and Sandoval continued to tour as Opal and work on a planned second album, ahead of scrapping that material to start anew as Mazzy Star.
Mazzy Star released debut album She Hangs Brightly in 1990 and followed that with 1993's So Tonight That I Might See and 1996's Among My Swan. Following a fifteen-year hiatus, the band returned to action with singles "Common Burn" and "Lay Myself Down" in 2011, which led to their fourth studio album Seasons of Your Day seeing release in 2013.
Roback co-wrote all of Mazzy Star's material alongside Sandoval and produced all four of their studio albums. Mazzy Star's last release was 2018 EP Still. Drummer Keith Mitchell passed away in 2017.