Artists Honor Rain Parade/Opal/Mazzy Star Guitar Innovator David Roback

The Paisley Underground luminary has died, aged 61

Mazzy Star (Art: Ron Hart)

News spread like wildfire across the music communities across social media about the unexpected passing of David Roback, the American guitarist who helped transform the college rock landscape in the 80s and 90s with groups like The Rain Parade, Opal and Mazzy Star.

“There are a lot of things one can do with a guitar,” the press-shy Roback told Paula Mejia in a 2013 feature on Mazzy Star for Interview Magazine. “There are no rules, there’s no formula.”

Here’s a sampling of the condolences from several of Roback’s closest allies and biggest fans in the business.

You can still find all the Mazzy Star albums in most used CD sections, while the good folks at Real Gone Music keeps The Rain Parade’s singular 1983 debut Emergency Third Rail Power Trip in print.  Sadly, most of the recorded work by Opal, the psych-gaze guitar outfit featuring Roback and Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith, remains woefully out of print. However, both Early Recordings and Happy Nightmare Baby are happily available on YouTube, both of which you can enjoy below. 

UPDATE 2/26/2020: Pat Thomas, who manages Kendra Smith, told Variety earlier today that Smith and Roback had been working on reissues of both titles before the guitarist’s death.

If you really want to comprehend just why this man is as highly regarded as he is as a producer, songwriter and musician, dig into these records. Man, he was a beast on that guitar…

Rest in Peace, David Roback. 61 is far too young.


AUDIO: Opal Happy Nightmare Baby (full album)


AUDIO: Opal Early Recordings (full album)



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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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