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David Roback’s cause of death revealed; Opal reissues in the works

Opal Happy Nightmare Baby

Yesterday we learned of the shocking and heartbreaking news that was the death of David Roback who not only co-founded (one of our all time favorite bands) Mazzy Star, but also the great and influential Opal and Rain Parade. Tonight the New York Times has revealed that David’s mother Rosemary Roback, “said the cause was metastatic cancer.” Our condolences to David’s mother, wife Hedi (Raikamo) Roback, brother Steven (of Rain Parade), and sister, and to his Mazzy Star bandmate Hope Sandoval and to everybody else David was close with (and f cancer!).

Yesterday we also rounded up many of the tributes pouring in from fellow musicians including including fellow Paisley Underground scene artists Susanna Hoffs (of The Bangles but also Rainy Day and The Unconscious which featured Roback) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate), as well as many others.

Variety published 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.

Variety also expanded upon this scoop in a second article:

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.”

We’ve been wishing for Opal reissues forever (and maybe there’s hope for a Rainy Day reissue, too), though obviously we wish this wasn’t how we found out they were finally coming.

Rest in Peace, David, and we hope you and Keith Mitchell are jamming again, wherever you are.

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