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The Yellow Dogs Murders: A Natural Human Disaster

Death In Brooklyn

I wasn’t going to write about the murder of two members of Iranian transplanted to Brooklyn band Yellow Dog, Guitarist Soroush Farazmand and drummer Arash Farazmand,  shot to death by a disgruntled former  band member, because I wasn’t sure what to add to the story. But one of my partners in rock nyc, Joseph Mcelroy, suggested I do so.

As tragedies go there seems to be layers to it, and the first is that both Yellow Dog and the band that the shooter was in The Free Keys, are  all about deep social reprehension in Iran. When bands are risking their lives to play music, folks like the Plastic People Of The Universe, the music gets a depth that goes beyond the music they are playing: the need to express yourself musical is enhanced when you are dying to do it.

Both Yellow Dog and The Free Keys were in 2009’s rock and rollers in Iran movie “No One Knows About The Persian cats” –a thrilling story of what it takes to pursue your dreams in Persia and it takes a lot. I loved the movie, less keen about the music though who can’t help but respect people willing to risk their lives in the pursuit of happiness.

The Mullahs did the right thing and got rid of both bands (they let them go to the Austin SXSW –obviously, there was no way they were going back once they reached the States) and the Iranian bands moved to Brooklyn four years ago and began the life of New York punk rockers, living together in a house like they were the Monkees.

They met bassist Raefe Akhbar in New York and he joined the band as the bassist as well as playing with other “Persian cats” refugees the Free Keys, before getting the heave ho. He exacted his revenge, breaking into Yellow Dogs house and killing the two band members as well as another friend-musician Ali Askandarian.

The other two members of the band weren’t at home, one of them was working the door at Cameo. Translation: the band were deep into the scene.

That’s the story but it is a story without a moral. If somebody decides to kill you, the chances are excellent that you will die and therefore this isn’t a rock music story. I mean, if somebody is fired at an insurance company and then returns with a gun and shoots up the office, it isn’t a story about insurance.

It is more like a natural disaster, it is just a natural human disaster.

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