That band's co-founders, brothers J. John (vocals, guitar) and J. Benjamin (piano), had been writing songs which didn't fit their sound, and things quickly snowballed. When Dehra Dun folded, their drummer, J. Benedict, also joined the new band, with violinist I. Forbes rounding out the combo.
"The Silent Comedy is one of my new favorite bands. They're ace," said FM94.9 DJ Tim Pyles, who has played them on his program. "I love their live show. You have to see the band to get the full effect. It's got rock and old-time religion as well as the ability to take you to a space occupied by only a few bands."
As might be ascertained from their name, The Silent Comedy looks back affectionately at the Golden Age of film. Their stage clothes are directly based on that, with a dress sense that seems right out of a Charlie Chaplin film.
"The name is a direct reference to the films that Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd made," confirmed John. "We draw a certain amount of inspiration from silent films."
For him the vaudeville connection is even more important.
"My great-grandparents were traveling vaudevillians, so I have a lot of respect for that tradition," he stated. "I think that there was an emphasis on being a performer at that time that is lacking these days. We try to bring a bit of that performance philosophy to our live show."
As such, the band considers their "look" important.
"It ties into that Vaudevillian performance philosophy," remarked John. "We want to give people a show that goes beyond performing a collection of songs."
Meanwhile, the band's sound is based on classic Americana.
"For me, our sound came out of a deep love for the storytelling tradition found in folk music," he stated. "My original intent was to make music that was simple enough to shift the focus to the lyrics and to the story being told."
John realizes his band is hard to pigeonhole when it comes to what genre they should be placed in.
"We usually say "˜folk' as a general umbrella," he said. "But it's difficult because people have their own conceptions of what folk means. They usually don't understand that the live show will be as crazy as it is. These days, I tell people it's a folk, rock, country and gospel hybrid."
Though the band is proud of their hometown scene, John points out there is a lot of competition when it comes to entertainment.
"San Diego is a tough town for the arts. There are so many outdoor activities that it often feels like you can't compete," he remarked. "[But] I don't think anyone gets as much respect in their hometown as they do elsewhere."
He considers touring to be key to their success.
"In the roughly year and a half that we've been seriously pursuing this group, we've been on four self-promoted tours. In the new year, we are looking at doing a longer trip supporting another band."
While the band has only recently released their debut album, "Sunset Stables," they are already knee-deep in new projects. This month will see the band shoot a video for their song "Bones" as well as the beginning of work on their next release. For John, all these projects are the culmination of more than a decade of making music.
"My brother [J. Benjamin] was very musically gifted at a young age, and I wanted to be like him. I turned out to not be as good of a musician," he laughed. "But I caught on to the performance aspect."
The Silent Comedy performs at The Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., on Saturday, Nov. 17. Tickets are $10. 21 and up.
For more information visit www.casbahmusic.com.