"The Metal Community's Behind You": Canadian DJ Pledges Support For Jailed Iranian Band

13 February 2016 | 11:44 am | Staff Writer

"I don't want people to start bashing on Muslims. I think they should just try to support the band and try to help them get free from this."

The chief executive of the Canadian metal-centric website who first received word of the horrendous circumstances of Iranian thrash outfit Confess has pledged his support — and that of the wider metal community — to the band in a heartfelt video interview uploaded to YouTube.

In an exchange with Ontarian journalist Michael Evans, Trev McKendry explained the dichtomous position in which he found himself after receiving an anonymous message from a friend of the band explaining that they had been arrested for, among other things, blasphemy — for which, if found guilty, the arrested members face execution — and having contact with "forbidden" Western media, including McKendry's Metal Nation Radio website.

"That's why I took this to heart," McKendry says in the video. "And when they reached out to me, I was like, 'wow'."

McKendry goes on to explain there is currently "no chance" of making contact with the band, given the restrictions reportedly placed upon them by Iranian authorities.

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"I really fully understand why, first off, the government has them silenced; they have no more access to their websites, they can't access Facebook," McKendry says. "If they do somehow try to start communicating with this, they could end up having more severe punishment — even lashings. All these years later, they still lash people for crimes."

The catch-22 of the situation that has arisen, however, is of concern to McKendry, even though, in sharing their story, he did precisely what had been asked of him by the band and their messenger.

"This story, because they asked me to get it out and get the word out, actually has taken off now, and just as of today has really, really picked up some speed, and that has the band even more concerned now because it's gotten more exposure than they really expected," he said.

He continued later: "I've taken [spreading the word] upon myself because my source, who is close to the band, reached out to me and specifically said that they asked me to help … that's why I've taken it on, and when I see in the charges for being interviewed on 'forbidden' foreign radios… how am I forbidden? I play music from all over the world. There's Iraqi bands that get played on our station. There's bands in Syria that get played on our station. There's bands from Israel — all over the world. I'm just giving the artists a voice, allowing their voice to be heard. That's the concept behind … the Metal Nation.

"We don't care what your age is, we don't care what sex you are, we don't care what religion you are, we don't care what race you are, what language you speak — if you love heavy metal, we love you."

McKendry is also adamant that the story should not fuel condemnation of the country or its beliefs and practices.

"I don't want people to start bashing Iran," he said. "I don't want people to start bashing on Muslims. I think they should just try to support the band and try to help them get free from this."

Indeed, in the face of such overwhelming circumstances, McKendry has a simple message for the members of Confess: "Stay strong. Just stay strong and know that the metal community's behind you. We are. I can see it."

Watch the full interview below.