The Silent Comedy: Punk rock preachers in Red Room

THe Silent Comedy
The Silent Comedy is on its way to Lake Tahoe.

Don’t be dissuaded by the timing of the Silent Comedy’s Crystal Bay Casino debut. Friday the 13th concertgoers will be lucky to catch this singular band.

“We don’t mind being labeled but we just can’t find a label,” bassist Joshua Zimmerman said. “It sounds like bad people singing heavenly music.”

The  Pentecostal punk rockers are an open songbook.

“By and large, the music is pretty simple,” Zimmerman said. “It’s more of a powerful emotional experience rather than a show of brilliant musicianship.”

Brothers Joshua and Jeremiah Zimmerman are sons of a parson who sold all of his possessions and took his family to Asia and Africa to start missionaries and health clinics. The household was filled with gospel music and folk sung by a man with the Christian name Robert Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan.

“Pastor’s kids tend to get thrown into music out of necessity because they are around all the time,” Zimmerman said. “My brother is a more musical guy but I started playing because there was a bass laying around. I thought, ‘This thing has four strings. It can’t be that hard.’ I was wrong about that. … Church is where I put (my) self-consciousness aside and become more involved in the experience rather than technical proficiency.”

The brothers first had a prog metal band and Silent Comedy was a side project. Their roots led them to make Silent Comedy the priority, and in the last three years the band has ascended.

Hair and strings
When in Tahoe onstage, Boyd Tinsley plays the strings, avoids his dreadlocks. Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

It has two LPs, the latest selling more than 14,000 copies, and an EP, and another LP is in the works. It has worked with violinist Boyd Tinsley on an “improvisational film/music project, ‘Faces in the Mirror.’” That led to opening shows for Tinsley’s well-known group, the Dave Matthews Band.  The Silent Comedy’s music has appeared in movies and advertisements.

Joshua and Jeremiah Zimmerman, who plays keys and guitar, write the songs and sing. Cousin Chad Lee drums and Justin Buchanan plays mandolin and banjo and sports a seriously thick handlebar mustache.

Friends Divide“There are elements that are folk inspired but we are also inspired by rock and roll and the show takes on much more of that feeling to it,” Zimmerman said. “The show has punk elements. It’s pretty wild. We take folk instruments and we bring them into a rock and roll context.”

The EP “Friends Divide” gives fans a flavor of the 2014 album to come, Zimmerman said, and includes the song “God Neon,” VIDEO which has received radio play in the band’s hometown San Diego.

 

Silent Comedy

When: 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13

Where: Crystal Bay Casino Red Room

Cover: free

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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