Remembering the Yellow Dogs

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In the wake of the murder of two members of an Iranian emigre rock band, the Yellow Dogs — as well as a musician friend — we wanted to offer a second look at a 2010 video on the band by Jay Irani.

In the wake of the murder of two members of an Iranian emigre rock band, the Yellow Dogs — as well as a musician friend — we wanted to offer a second look at a 2010 video on the band by Jay Irani, who also offers his memories of meeting the group as they were beginning to emerge in the Brooklyn music scene.

I first met The Yellow Dogs in the spring of 2010. They had found their way to Brooklyn via Tehran. In a country where playing rock music is forbidden, and all live music performances have to be sanctioned by the authorities, these kids decided to take their music underground rather than surrender to an ideology they didn’t subscribe to.

We met at the New York premiere of the movie, “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” a docu-drama about the underground music scene in Tehran. By chance I was standing in front of their manager’s sister, and we started chatting. Soon a meeting was arranged, and I went to shoot their live show at Cameo. A few days later I sat with them in their living room, in their cramped, yet home-y Bushwick loft. We talked about their journey from playing rock and roll, to avoiding police raids, to what life in Tehran was like for the young men and women who preferred to rock, rather than roll over to the wishes of the mullahs.

I walked away impressed by how these kids stood up to a brutal and repressive government, fighting back in their own small way. I saw that they were wiser than their age suggested, a result of their shared experiences and run-ins with the law. They were a charismatic and fun-loving bunch who wanted only to make music and use their talents to give a voice to those who might not have one. They were a band of brothers, with no egos and no expectations – just dreams of making good music.

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