Mazzy Star is an American alternative rock band formed in Santa Monica, California, in 1989 from the group Opal, a collaboration of guitarist David Roback and bassist Kendra Smith. Roback’s friend Hope Sandoval became the group’s vocalist when Smith left the band.
Mazzy Star is best known for the song “Fade into You” 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 Sandoval are the creative center of the band, with Sandoval as lyricist and Roback as composer of the majority of the band’s material.
The band’s most recent studio album, Seasons of Your Day, was released in 2013.
Opal and Paisley Underground (1981–1987)
Mazzy Star has deep roots within the Californian Paisley Underground movement of the early 1980s. David Roback, along with his brother Steven, was one of the main architects of leading Los Angeles psychedelic revival band, the Rain Parade. Leaving that band after their first LP, he founded Clay Allison in 1983 with then-girlfriend, ex-Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith. Soon after the publication of their sole release, the 1983 double A-sided single “Fell From the Sun”/”All Souls”, Clay Allison renamed themselves Opal and released the LP Happy Nightmare Baby on SST on December 14, 1987. With Roback as its musical catalyst, 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. Meanwhile, 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.
When Smith left Opal under cloudy circumstances in the middle of a tour supporting the Jesus & Mary Chain, Sandoval was tapped as her replacement.
Renewed solo activity (2016–present)
On March 9, 2016, it was confirmed that Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions would release a 7″ vinyl single titled “Isn’t It True” for Record Store Day 2016. The track also features Jim Putnam of Radar Bros. A music video for the song was released on April 19, and is dedicated to Richie Lee of Acetone. The Warm Inventions’ third studio album, Until the Hunter, is scheduled for release on November 4, 2016 through the band’s own independent record label, Tendril Tales. A second single from the album, “Let Me Get There” featuring Kurt Vile, is slated for a September 23 release.
Sandoval contributed vocals to “I Don’t Mind” by Psychic Ills, which was released on March 29. Four months later, Massive Attack released “The Spoils”, which was her third collaboration with the band, following “Paradise Circus” and “Four Walls”. A music video starring actress Cate Blanchett was released on August 9.