Iran Rockers' US Dream Ended in Massacre

Cops say shooter was booted from another band
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2013 1:40 AM CST
Iran Rockers' US Dream Ended in Massacre
This 2012 photo shows Yellow Dogs band members, from left, Koroush "Koory" Mirzaei, Siavash Karampour, Arash Farazmand and Soroush Farazmand at The Gutter in the Brooklyn borough of New York.    (AP Photo/Danny Krug)

The bloodshed in Brooklyn early yesterday brought a horrific end to the career of a band that was huge in Tehran's thriving underground rock scene—and a rising star in the US. Yellow Dogs members Arash and Soroush Farazmand were shot dead along with occasional vocalist Ali Eskandarian by a gunman later identified as Raefe Akhbar, who killed himself after the rampage, the Wall Street Journal reports. Contrary to earlier reports, police say Akhbar had not been thrown out of the Yellow Dogs, but was a former member of the Free Keys, another Iranian rock band that was closely associated with the Yellow Dogs. He tried to shoot a Free Keys member during the attack but the singer survived after a struggle in which the magazine of Akhbar's gun fell out.

The Yellow Dogs—described as astute, well-informed, and resourceful 20-somethings in a State Department cable released by WikiLeaks—arrived in the US in 2010 and had recently been granted political asylum, the New York Times reports. The Free Keys arrived a year later and stayed for a time at the house shared by the other band, which had become a hub for fellow musicians, several of whom were present when Akhbar began his rampage, climbing down from a neighboring roof carrying a rifle in a guitar case. Two Yellow Dogs members were away and survived the attack, which the band's rep says was sparked by a "very petty conflict," the New York Daily News reports. Police say Akhbar was kicked out of the Free Keys last year for allegedly stealing earnings and had been turning up at shows, pestering former bandmates to let him back in. (Read more Yellow Dogs stories.)

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