Surviving Yellow Dogs ‘blinded with rage’ at shooting death of bandmates

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.
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.
Credit: Reuters

Surviving members of the exiled Iranian rock band the Yellow Dogs said on Wednesday they were “blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief” over the fatal shooting of two of their bandmates in New York City.

In their first extensive comments since the attack Sunday night, Koory Mirzeai and Siavash Karampour, the Yellow Dogs’ bassist and singer, said in a statement they had not seen shooter Ali Rafie in more than a year before his shooting spree.

Police said Rafie fatally shot the band’s drummer and guitarist, along with a third musician living in their house, before killing himself.

Rafie briefly joined the Free Keys, another Iranian band, for live shows to fill in for their bass player, who was unable to get a visa to join the rest of the group in the United States, the statement said.

“By the third show, Free Keys decided to stop working with Rafie as a result of personal and musical differences,” Mirzeai and Karampour said. “It became clear very quickly that he was just not a natural fit within our group of friends, and his personal views conflicted with our approach to our art and to the world,” they added, without elaborating.

“When Rafie stopped being a part of the band, he stopped hanging around our inner circle of friends” and they had no contact with him for 14 months, the pair said.

Police said Rafie became depressed, and his mother petitioned the Free Keys to let him back in to the band.

Just before midnight on Sunday, Rafie took a rifle and sneaked into a house the Yellow Dogs share in Brooklyn’s East Williamsburg neighborhood with their manager, a pair of Iranian street artist brothers, a member of the Free Keys and one or two others, police said.

He fatally shot Ali Eskandarian, a 35-year-old writer and a sometime guest vocalist with the Yellow Dogs, and the brothers Soroush, 27, and Arash Farazmand, 28, the band’s guitarist and drummer, according to police.

He wounded another man in the house and unsuccessfully tried to shoot a former member of the Free Keys before heading to the roof and killing himself with the 19th of the 100 bullets he had brought with him.

“Three days later, we’re still here, still breathing but with a gaping hole in our hearts,” Mirzeai and Karampour, who were both working bar jobs that night, said. “These are the darkest hours of our lives, we are in shock, awe, blinded with rage and paralyzed with grief.”

All four members of the Yellow Dogs fled their native Iran in 2010 to seek political asylum and the freedom to play the spiky, danceable punk-inflected music they loved, but which got them in trouble in the Islamic republic.

Eskandarian had nearly finished a memoir, Arash Farazmand had just received confirmation he had won political asylum in the United States – the last of the four members to do so – and Soroush Farazmand was working on new Yellow Dogs material.

“Everything we had hoped and worked for was finally coming true,” Mirzeai and Karampour said. “The future was so incredibly bright.”

“We will not let this disgusting brutality define us or become our story,” they said, “but instead respond by creating music more passionately and with more intensity than ever before, embracing the freedom that we all dreamed would one day be ours back in Iran and play to honor those who should be playing next to us.”


Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…


Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.


Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.


Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.


‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."


'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…


Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…


Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.


Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.


Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.


Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.


Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…


Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…


Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…


4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.