Into the Dust

While Dave Roback was a Boomer, Mazzy Star was one of the few worthwhile things Generation X (Hope Sandoval was born in 1966) ever produced.

David Roback, the musician best known for cofounding the beloved, genre-eluding band Mazzy Star with singer and lyricist Hope Sandoval in Santa Monica in 1989 has died at age 61, a publicist confirmed Tuesday. No date or cause of death has been given.

I still remember where I first heard their classic song “Fade into You,” at the old Tower Records bookstore in the East Village. I immediately recognized the guitar chords as a ripoff of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. I think that was Mazzy Star’s appeal. They weren’t original but if you were born in the 1960s, you could hear memories of your early childhood in Dave Roback’s guitar solos. They were a Generation X band who successfully (and quietly) rebooted the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and the Velvet Underground.

They were also one of the very few American rock bands who alluded to obscure (well, obscure in the United States) German romantic poetry like Novalis’s Blue Flower. The French filmmaker Olivier Assayas made a film (very loosely) based on Mazzy Star’s lead singer Hope Sandoval. Dave Roback has a cameo near the very end.

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