Issue #83 / February 2020

Have you ever considered playing in far away countries in Middle East or somewhere? You have a fanbase here in Iran, you might wonder! Although it is forbidden for “Western artists” to play here in Iran, I hope you play in Turkey again so we get the chance to see you! And I hope that someday artists raise their voice for their fans in oppressed countries rather than banning concerts somewhere! Your biggest fan, from distant skies!


Dear Sadegh,

Some years ago my dear friend, Arash from Tehran sent me a link to the movie, No One Knows About Persian Cats. This has to be one of the great rock ‘n’ roll movies of all time. Courageous, funny, dangerous, heart-breaking yet ultimately uplifting, it shows, as clear as any movie I can think of, the pure subversive force of rock ‘n’ roll, its incredible resilience, its unifying power and its transcendent nature. The extraordinary lengths the musicians go to in order to play their music, despite the grotesque and repressive nature of the regime, is truly inspiring.

I receive a lot of letters from Iran on The Red Hand Files and it is a genuine sadness for us that we are unable to play in your country. I hope one day that will change. There appears to be an ever-growing hunger in Iran to resist these oppressive measures and stand up for basic freedoms, artistic or otherwise. I wish you all the best in that struggle.

Of course, there are paternalistic and authoritarian forces that exist everywhere, to a greater or lesser degree; these come in a variety of different guises, always in the name of some greater virtue, yet always with the same intent — to silence musicians and free expression. We must, of course, resist.

The good news, however, is that it looks like The Bad Seeds will be playing in Istanbul next year, and if it is anything like the show we did there in 2018, it’s going to be a blast. It was a special time for us. Email me your address, Sadegh, and we can arrange tickets for the show. The Bad Seeds and I will be happy to see you, although it is sad you have to come so far.

Love, Nick




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