Before NY shooting, Iranian band thrived while another struggled

Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:38pm EST
 
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When the Yellow Dogs were still playing secret gigs in their native Iran, even the unruly hairstyles of the four 20-something members of the indie-rock band were enough to get them in trouble with the police.

But on the streets of Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn thick with young musicians, they blended in effortlessly after arriving in 2010 to seek asylum and the freedom to play the wiry, punk-inflected music they loved.

The murder-suicide early on Monday that left two of them dead plunged those in the Williamsburg music community, on which the Yellow Dogs had quickly left a mark, into shock.

"People loved them as a band," said Jify Shah, owner of the Cameo club where they often played. "When you saw them they had that intimidating rock-star quality as far as looks goes, but they're super humble and nice, and people like hanging around with them.

"They were a role model of a band," Shah said.

After fleeing oppression in the Islamic republic, they thrived in Brooklyn, booking repeat gigs at local venues and turning their three-story East Williamsburg house into a hub for artistic Iranian expats.

"This is our dream," Ali Salehezadeh, who managed the band and lived with them, said of the house's bohemian atmosphere and the frequent parties open to anyone who might be interesting.

The dream was violently smashed late on Sunday night by another Iranian musician who had arrived in the United States more recently and who police and others say was flailing after being kicked out of another band, the Free Keys, about a year ago.   Continued...

 
Members of indie band the Yellow Dogs, (L-R) Soroush Farazmand, Koory Mirz, Siavash Karampour and Arash Farazmand are shown at The Gutter bowling alley in Williamsburg neighbourhood in New York in 2011, in this picture released to Reuters on November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Krug/Handout via Reuters