Posts Tagged ‘Rain Parade’

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David Roback, producer and Mazzy Star co-founder, has died, a rep for the band confirmed. He was 61 years old. David’s mother Rosemary Roback, “said the cause was metastatic cancer.” Our condolences to David’s mother, wife Hedi (Raikamo) Roback, and sister, and to his Mazzy Star bandmate Hope Sandoval.

Roback was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and attended Palisades High School, graduating in 1975. He and his brother Stephen Roback, a bass guitarist, formed a band called the Unconscious, which also included Susanna Hoffs, who would go on to become the lead singer and guitarist of The Bangles.

The Rain Parade was a band active in the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles in the 1980s.
The band was founded by college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar, vocals) in 1981, originally as The Moving Sidewalks.

He formed Rain Parade with Matt Piucci then after the release of the band’s first album, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, in 1983, Roback left Rain Parade citing a sense of limitations in the band. He spent time in Berkeley and New York before founding Opal with Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith in the mid-1980s. After Smith departed the band in the middle of a tour where Opal were supporting The Jesus & Mary Chain, Hope Sandoval was tapped as her replacement. Robackto record Rainy Day, a collaborative effort with a number of Los Angeles musicians all involved in the Paisley Underground scene.

The California-born Roback played in bands throughout the mid-’80s, including Rain Parade and Opal, before co-founding the seminal West Coast band Mazzy Star alongside Hope Sandoval in 1989. The alt-rock group unveiled their debut album, “She Hangs Brightly”, in 1990, before going on to release three more records and two EPs.

There was more information  and a nice tribute today by Pat Thomas, “a longtime fan and current manager of Roback’s former [Opal] bandmate Kendra Smith.” It’s worth reading, but we especially wanted to point out this nugget at the end:

At the time of his passing, Roback was working with Kendra Smith on finalizing the re-release of their two albums together, “Happy Nightmare Baby” and a compilation of their first EPs titled “Early Recordings (first released in 1989). Both albums have been unavailable for decades and are not currently available on streaming services, but are due for imminent release digitally and physically via Ingrooves Music Group.

The group’s 1987 opus, “Happy Nightmare Baby,” will not include any bonus tracks, but a 1989 compilation of earlier material called, naturally enough, “Early Recordings,” will include five extra songs: “Hear the Wind Blow,” “I Called Erin,” “Don’t Stop the Train,” “Sailing Boats” and an alternate version of “Empty Bottles.” (Some of these songs appeared on a bootleg compilation called “Early Recordings Volume 2.”) Thomas did not give a more specific release date than “imminent.”.

Mazzy Star is best known for the song “Fade into You” The track reached No. 3 on the Alternative Songs airplay chart in 1994 and has sold 1.1 million downloads in the U.S. It also reached the top 20 of Alternative Songs which brought the band some success in the mid-1990s and was the group’s biggest mainstream hit, earning extensive exposure on MTV, VH1, and radio airplay. Roback and Hope Sandoval are the creative center of the band, with Sandoval as lyricist and Roback as composer of the majority of the band’s material.

Opal were a direct precursor to Mazzy Star musically—often featuring the same psychedelic guitar drones and similar hints of blues and folk that would later appear on Mazzy Star recordings. Sandoval who was in high school at the time formed the folk music duo Going Home in the early 1980s with fellow student Sylvia Gomez, and went on to tour with Sonic Youth and Minutemen. Both were devoted followers of the Rain Parade, and after a 1983 concert by the band in the Los Angeles area, Gomez entered the backstage area of the venue and gave Roback a copy of Going Home’s demo tape, featuring Sandoval on vocals and Gomez on guitar. Upon hearing the tape, Roback offered to produce a still-unreleased album by the pair.

Sandoval and Roback quickly composed and recorded seven new tracks in Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco, under the band name Mazzy Star. Written over a year before Mazzy Star’s inception, the track “Ghost Highway” is the duo’s only original song to not feature a writing credit from Sandoval, while another song, “Give You My Lovin'”, was written by Going Home guitarist Sylvia Gomez. 

She Hangs Brightly was released in April 1990 on Rough Trade and, although it was not an immediate commercial success, the album established the duo as a recurrent fixture on alternative rock radio, with lead single “Blue Flower” – a cover of the Slapp Happy track, The album would go on to sell over 70,000 copies in the UK.

Following the success of “Fade into You”, She Hangs Brightly album opener “Halah” began to receive heavy airplay in the US and peaked in the Modern Rock Tracks chart, a chart based solely on airplay. In 1995, She Hangs Brightly was awarded a gold certification from the RIAA for shipments in excess of 500,000 units.

The band’s most recent studio album, Seasons of Your Day, was released in 2013, followed by a EP Still in 2018.

The group’s album So Tonight That I Might See, which features “Fade Into You,” sold 1.3 million in the U.S. Mazzy Star charted two more albums “Among My Swan” in 1996 and Seasons of Your Day”, the group’s final project, in 2013.

  • She Hangs Brightly (1990)
  • So Tonight That I Might See (1993)
  • Among My Swan (1996)
  • Seasons of Your Day (2013)

Simon Raymonde Of Bella Union had this to say: So sad to hear of the passing of David Roback formerly of Opal and Mazzy Star. A brilliant Musician and producer he gave us some amazing music. A quiet, private and brooding man during the time we worked together : We were label-mates at Capitol & Mazzy Star supported us in the USA during a long tour in the 90s. Dave then produced some tracks of Beth Orton’s Central Reservation LP at our September Sound studios in Richmond during 1999, he leaves us way too early at the age of just 61 years old.

One of the great musicians, songwriters and participants in three of music’s most wonderful bands

Roback’s cause of death is unknown at press time.

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From Los Angeles and part of the ‘Paisley Underground’ In the early 80’s, we have Rain Parade. Brainchild of brothers Steven and (the late, great) David Roback, along with multi instrumentalist Matt Piucci, released their first album on the Enigma label called, ‘Emergency Third Rail Power Trip’ in 1983. David left shortly after to form his band Opal, and the band carried on with a 1984 mini lp called ‘Explosions in the Glass Palace.’

Of all the albums that emerged from the L.A.“Paisley Underground” scene, Rain Parade’s Emergency 3rd Rail Power Trip (1983)—and its follow-up EP, Explosions in the Glass Palace (1984)—were probably the most transparent in their influences and probably the most successful in transcending them. Here was the jangle-rock of the Byrds married with the soft, downbeat vocal harmonies of early Pink Floyd, infused with a Love-like delicacy—yet the dark lyrical themes and droning twin guitar melodies made listening to Rain Parade like being on an acid trip teetering on the knife edge between pure nirvana and colossal bummer. Which, for true fans of psychedelia, was an awfully sweet spot to be.

Rain Parade fashioned traditional, gentle psychedelic pop on Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, including the dreamy “What’s She Done to Your Mind” and the Byrds-ish “This Can’t Be Today” (with the Dream Syndicate’s Kendra Smith). They were clearly way ahead of their time, and it would take years before sleepy music (à la founding Rain Parade member David Roback’s Mazzy Star) would catch on. This record sounds no more made in the ’80s than in the ’60s or ’90s.

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Listeners who were enraptured by this band’s first effort should enjoy this follow-up, even though principal member David Roback had already quit. Don’t know if this is considered an LP or EP, as it clocks in at a mere 20 minutes, but it’s still superior to other recycled psychedelia from L.A.’s Paisley Underground. Layered guitars, special effects, droning vocals, catchy hooks — they’re all here. The Rain Parade never broke any barriers during their brief existence, but they really captured the spirit of ’60s psychedelic rock better than most.

At Real Gone Music they are thrilled to be putting these two classic records back into print, both of them complete on a single CD and including “Look Both Ways,” the track that was left off the original U.S. release, with liner notes by Paisley Underground historian Pat Thomas featuring quotes from Rain Parade founding members, guitarist Matt Piucci and bassist Steven Roback. And even more important, our new single CD edition of this twofer features a brand new remastering by Mike Milchner of SonicVision approved by both Matt Piucci and Steven Roback…the first remastering since the album was originally released on CD back in the ‘90s!

They began collaborating after meeting at a barbecue held by Green On Red. Rainy Day recorded and released their eponymous, lone compilation album in 1984. It pays tribute to the various psychedelic and folksy rock acts that paved the way for the starting point of their own bands.

This lovely daydream of an album is one of a kind, and like a dream, it’s frustratingly elusive. It came and went in a blur, and the only place you can find it now is in the shadowy alleys of the internet. All of which seems appropriate, because it feels like a rumor, like a secret gig in a small club that you hear about after the fact and takes on a mythic quality: Did you hear that all these musicians got together the other night and played some of their favorite covers? Participants on the LP include members from various bands that made up the Paisley Underground scene in L.A.: The Bangles, the Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade (David Roback from that band is the album’s producer and creative center), the Three O’Clock, Opal.

All of the songs except one (Alex Chilton’s “Holocaust” , a track from the Third Big Star album ) are from the ’60s: there are two Buffalo Springfield songs written by Neil Young, folk songs that were adapted by the Byrds and the Beach Boys, a section of Pete Townshend’s opus “A Quick One While He’s Away”, and songs by Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and Jimi Hendrix, all emerging through a low-fi haze. It starts with Susanna Hoffs purring Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine” , ends with a psychedelic excursion on Hendrix’s “Rainy Day Dream Away” , and in between the high spots include Kendra Smith of the Dream Syndicate singing “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong”, Hoffs on Lou Reed’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror” , and Roback’s solo version of “On The Way Home” . The whole Paisley Underground world was a mixed bag, some of it utterly engaging, some too precious and quirky for quirk’s sake, too much mood-making and too few memorable songs. At its best though, it was beautifully textured, a relief from all the slick bombast of ’80s rock. It makes sense that one of the more purely likable albums to come out of that community was this intimate and relaxed psych-folk session that looked back with affection at inspirational bands like the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, guiding spirits of so much Southern California rock.