Why the Yellow Dogs Were Important

UPDATE: A manager for Brooklyn's Iranian-American band, The Yellow Dogs, released a statement confirming the deaths of two band members. (Previous reports indicated that two band members had passed away.) The manager, however, also corrected previous reports that the shooter was a former bandmate. Said the statement, "The shooter was not a former member of the band The Yellow Dogs, he was in another band from Iran and the two groups were acquaintances in the past. A personal conflict between the guys resulted in the dissolution of their relationship in 2012. The shooting resulted in the death of two of the members of the Yellow Dogs, Sourosh Farazmand (guitarist) and Arash Farazmand (drummer), along with a friend of theirs, fellow musician and author Ali Eskandarian. The shooter died from a self inflicted bullet wound on site."

EARLIER: By now, you've probably heard about the tragic story surrounding Brooklyn band The Yellow Dogs, whose members were found dead in their East Williamsburg home early this morning. According to BuzzFeed, a former member of the Iranian-American band shot and killed his three bandmates before killing himself, reportedly bitter about being kicked out of the band for possibly stealing money and selling the group's equipment.

It's a terrible story, made even sadder by the fact that these guys were poised to be really significant icons in the struggle for young Iranian men and women to express themselves artistically in an oppressive culture like Iran's — the band was already well-known in the indie scene, and made headlines a few years ago on CNN for speaking out about the difficulties they face being rock musicians in the country.

So, who were The Yellow Dogs? Three regular Brooklyn rockers looking to make a change in the world — it's unfortunate that it's under these circumstances.

  • They highlighted the struggle for young Iranian musicians and artists looking to express themselves in a country that regulates dress, haircuts, and peoples' everyday lives. In this clip from a 2009 CNN report, the band describes how they practice and play music underground in Iran, effectively risking their lives for their music.
  • They furthered the Kickstarter craze, after fleeing from Iran for fear that they would be killed if they were caught playing their music by the Iranian police force, ershad, who regulate what the Islamic government sees as misbehavior — including dress, drinking, dating, or playing rock music.
  • They effectively showed the world that the extremist government in Iran does not speak for the majority of young people living in the country today — important, given the media's common portrayal of Iran as simply state of terrorists.

Image: Yellow Dogs/Facebook