Fans of the Yellow Dogs, old and new, continue to share their condolences on social media following a shooting early Monday left two members of the Iranian rock band dead.
The band’s Facebook page lit up with activity after news that a fellow Iranian musician had entered their apartment in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and fatally shot 28-year-old Arash Farazmand and 27-year-old Soroush Farazmand, the Yellow Dogs’ drummer and guitarist, respectively. The gunman, identified as Ali Akbar Mohammadi Rafie, also shot and killed Ali Eskandarian, an Iranian-American musician who lived in the apartment upstairs. Rafie ultimately turned the gun on himself.
In an outpouring of support posted in numerous languages, Facebook users offered prayers and expressions of grief. The page has gained more than 3,000 new likes in the last 24 hours. The band’s surviving members, singer Siavash (Obash) Karampour and bass player Koory Mirzeai, were not at the scene of the shooting. On Tuesday morning, they posted an update thanking everyone for the outpouring of support and tweeted to say they were still in shock.
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From Koory and Obaash: still in shock, we lost 3 of our brothers, Soroush Farazmand, Arash Farazmand and Ali Eskandarian, Rest In Peace
â€” The Yellow Dogs (@YellowDogsband) November 12, 2013
Initial reports said that the shooter was a former member of the Yellow Dogs who was upset for being kicked out of the band. But that account was disputed by the band’s manager, who said in a statement to Pitchfork that a “personal conflict between the guys resulted in the dissolution of their relationship in 2012.” The New York Times reported that the shooter was a former member of the Iranian band Free Keys, a member of which was present at the night of the shooting but escaped unharmed.
While still building a following in the U.S., the Yellow Dogs had achieved a level of folk-heroism in their native country after appearing in the 2009 film “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” about Iran’s underground music scene. Not sanctioned by Iran’s state-run Ministry of Culture, the band fled for America in 2010 and joined the ranks of Brooklyn’s indie music scene. They had recently played a show at the Brooklyn performance space Shea Stadium BK.
On YouTube, a music video for the Yellow Dogs song “Dance Floor” had attracted more than 38,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon. Many of the commenters said they came to watch the video -- an energetic, post-punk song featuring shots of girls dancing in various locations throughout New York City -- after hearing about the tragedy.
“This is so profoundly sad,” wrote YouTube user J. Franklin. “I cannot believe I am here listening to this (and enjoying very much) because of the article I just read. My heart goes out to their families and friends.”