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Mazzy Star Influences: David Roback, Hope Sandoval and their Dreampop Inspirations

The infographic below above shows some of the musical influences of Mazzy Star, a really relevant band from the early nineties. Their sound and style are reminiscent of psychedelic rock and pop, and also inspired dream pop artists.

Mazzy Star's influences: Hope Sandoval and David Roback's inspirations

Mazzy’s Star sound has often been described as dream pop and psychedelic rock/pop. The band mainly consisted of guitarist David Roback and lead singer Hope Sandoval, other rotating musicians. On February 24, 2020, with the death of David Roback, the possibility of Mazzy Star returning with new music was completely shattered.

Five musical influences on Mazzy Star

While David Roback composed all of Mazzy Star‘s music, Hope Sandoval provided the lyrics. Some of their key inspirations were the following:

The Rolling Stones

According to Hope Sandoval, the fundamental band fronted by Mick Jagger made her want to become a musician in the first place. According to the singer, she was only 13 years old when she found out about them. Hope Sandoval is also a big fan of Pink Floyd‘s mastermind, Syd Barret.


’70s punk band X is another inspiration for Mazzy Star‘s singing style. Hope Sandoval said that singer Exene Cervenka has been a strong influence on her. Even though Sandoval does not usually speak in public about her favorite artists, she has openly praised Cervenka on Social Media.

The Velvet Underground

As Sandoval explained, David Roback was an expert on the band The Velvet Underground. This band, together with The Doors, laid the psychedelic foundations of Mazzy Star‘s musical approach. Roback’s compositions borrowed heavily from the sixties’ psychedelic music, which frequently included ethereal soundscapes as well as droning sounds.

The Bangles

In this specific case, the influence should be really attributed to the bands from the Paisley Underground music scene. The sound of these bands frequently relied on psychedelia and was quite harmonic. The Bangles, with hit songs like Manic Monday and Walk Like an Egyptian, was one of the most famous bands to come out of this music scene. As a matter of fact, David Roback was part of Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate, bands that belonged to the Paisley Underground.

Big Star

David Roback was fond of pop and rock bands of the seventies, especially Big Star and The Byrds. He was very influenced by them in terms of his music writing, as well as his guitar playing style.

Which artists were influenced by Mazzy Star?


While the grunge band Nirvana is not usually known for sounding calm and quiet, Kurt Cobain was a huge fan of Mazzy Star’s first album, She Hangs Brightly (1990). He even listed the album among his fifty favorite records of all time, alongside artists such as The Pixies, The Stooges, and Sonic Youth. If you want to expand more on this band, you can check out Nirvana’s influence diagram.

Cigarettes After Sex

Having released two albums, Cigarettes After Sex are considered one the most relevant dream pop bands nowadays. Singer, Greg González, has acknowledged that Mazzy Star is an influence on Cigarettes After Sex music. The band’s dreamy, sweet and ethereal sound, is very reminiscent of the music from Roback and Sandoval.

Lana del Rey

Mazzy Star is an influence that runs through the entire discography of Lana del Rey. Many of her songs have the same deep voice singing style, as well as ethereal instrumentation and downtempo. Critics have frequently compared both’s music, even pointing out that Lana del Rey tries to emulate the singer Hope Sandoval. To read more about this singer, you can visit our post about the musical influences of Lana del Rey.

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen’s music is often characterized by melancholy. Especially in slow-tempo songs and ballads from Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014) and My Woman (2016), several music journalists have noted Angel Olsen’s inspiration from Mazzy Star’s music. Tracks like Sister or the Unfuck The World have acoustic and dreamy sounds, which remind us a bit of Roback‘s and Sandoval‘s band.

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