November 13, 2013


Surviving Yellow Dogs Members Break Silence on Brooklyn Murder-Suicide

Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic
Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic

UPDATE: The surviving members of the Yellow Dogs and Free Keys have broken their silence about the murder-suicide in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sunday night that left their three fellow Iranian musicians dead. The statement—written Yellow Dogs' Siavash "Obash" Karampour and Koory Mirzeai, with help from band manager Ali Salehezadeh, Free Keys' Pooya Hosseini and band confidants/street artists Icy and Sot—talks of the Brooklyn safe-haven the group of friends and artists formed upon emigrating from Tehran. It also discusses how gunman Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, aka "Rafi," was recruited as the bassist in Free Keys, but was axed over 14 months ago and not heard from until Sunday night.

"Three days later, we're still here, still breathing but with a gaping hole in our hearts. For now it’s impossible to even imagine a future without our friends, and no explanation can make sense or begin to justify what has happened to our lives. To say we are heartbroken does not come close. These are the darkest hours of our lives, we are in shock, awe, blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief."

Read the full statement at Pitchfork.

Sad news coming from Brooklyn this morning: An Iranian musician shot and killed three other musicians, including two from Tehran-bred dance rock outfit the Yellow Dogs, before killing himself early Monday morning, the New York Times reports. 

NYPD commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the yet-to-be-identified gunman was believed to have played with the Yellow Dogs or another Iranian indie rock group called the Free Keys. Kelly also said the gunman's motive was "a dispute over money involving an indie rock band." Ali Salehezadeh, manager for the Yellow Dogs, said that members of the two bands had been “acquaintances in the past," but that a "personal conflict between the guys resulted in the dissolution of their relationship in 2012."

The gunman entered a three-story building on 318 Maujer Street in industrial Bushwick, Brooklyn armed with a .308 caliber rifle and killed guitarist Soroush Farazmand and his brother, drummer Arash Farazmand, both members of the Yellow Dogs. He also shot and killed a third Iranian musician, Ali Eskandarian, before heading to the building's roof and turning the gun on himself. 

The fourth victim, Sasan Sadeghpourosko, 22, was treated for a gunshot would to the right arm and released. Two others were in the building and reportedly hid in the first-floor bathroom during the attack.

The Yellow Dogs formed in Tehran, where playing rock music is considered un-Islamic. Described as a "post punk/dance punk band" on Twitter, the group recently relocated to Brooklyn and used the building as a practice space and often played shows on the rooftop. The band last played at Brooklyn Bowl, a popular venue in the hip Williamsburg neighborhood, on October 23. 

Last year, eMusic published a video interview with the band, which discussed forming in Tehran and rehearsing in an underground studio soundproofed with Styrofoam. The Yellow Dogs also had a song on the soundtrack to No One Knows About Persian Cats, a documentary about Iran’s underground music scene, which won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.