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Jeff Brummett’s Guide to San Jose

In Culture, Music
Jeff Brummett 1

When Jeff Brummett isn’t busy working at Streetlight Records, he’s playing guitar and singing in Doctor Nurse, one of San Jose’s best indie rock bands, featuring heavy psychedelic and folk influences and a balance of lush vocal harmonies and carefully textured instrumentation.

Their song craftsmanship is surprisingly sophisticated, better even than a lot of touring psychedelic-influenced indie rock bands. Mood and understated emotional intensity are at the forefront of every song, usually starting out mellow, using repetition and layering to give the songs a slow and powerful buildup. While Doctor Nurse has only been around a couple years, Brummett is no newbie to the San Jose scene. We asked him to share the spots in San Jose he knows and loves.

What part of San Jose are you from?

I live in Willow Glen and there’s this particular homeless guy I’m fairly obsessed with. He is always madly scribbling what looks like crazy scientist Aztec symbols in this book. Whenever I give him some dough, I’m tempted to ask him about it, but ultimately I don’t want the mystery revealed. The not-knowing is the thing. Unless he’s making blueprints for a time machine or something—I definitely want in on that.

What’s your favorite place outside of San Jose?

Costa Rica is a magical land filled with green trees, monkeys and banana milkshakes. Can’t beat it, and their capital is named San Jose.

What’s the best show you’ve seen in San Jose?

This one is easy. In 2008, the Blank Club had Extreme Elvis, Neil Hamburger and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy on one bill. The stars were aligned that night in ways I’d never conceived. The Ledge left the stage during a song leaving the band to finish without him as he went and caught the bus. Neil Hamburger did the Colonel Sanders/Sally Field joke and Extreme Elvis (after um, “marking his territory”…. yes, what you’re thinking is absolutely correct) eventually led the crowd to the street for an acoustic sing-along rendition of “Suspicious Minds.” Did I mention that he was completely naked? Sublime.

Who’s your favorite local band?

Well, I loved Worker Bee so much I am now in a band with two of the members. I’ve gotten sneak peeks of the new Plantain and Ugly Winner records and they are really, really good. Totally looking forward to the Amonie record coming soon. The new Sourpatch record is great. It seems like a bunch of folks will finally be releasing material this year. Very cool.

Where’s your favorite place to get a drink in San Jose?

Good Karma has an amazing selection of high-end beers. They have such great variety and are always getting new and unique brands. They have events with exclusive brews that you can’t find anywhere else. Ryan Summers is the best host in town and all the staff there are incredibly nice and welcoming and don’t yell at me when I’m hanging in the back getting in their way.

Where’s a cool spot for new threads?

I’m the most unfashionable dude ever. Black and Brown is pretty much the only place I go. Last time I went there, I scored this corduroy jacket and Irene who works there said that I liked “grandpa clothes.” She was right. Plus, they have cool art and music shows and are generally awesome people.

What’s your favorite spot for a cheap bite in San Jose?

Me and my buddies have been obsessed with Taco Bravo for years. I can’t say I’ve actually eaten there in a long time, but what other place can you order an item off the menu item called “The Boneyard.” I work down the street from there and one of my favorite pastimes is driving by and counting the number of people waiting in line during breakfast time. The record? Eleven people wanting Bravo at 10:30 am. The world is a wondrous and mysterious place. Plus, the dudes who work there go to the same bank as I do.

What’s the best thing about living in San Jose?

A few things I guess. The group of talented, creative geniuses/doofuses I hang with truly make this place all worthwhile. The close proximity to the greatest radio station on Earth, KFJC. Joey Myers still lives here. Plus, that beer-batter thing at the SJ Giants game is kind of a hoot. Did I mention Bravo already?

Where’s the best place in San Jose to go relax?

Funny you bring that up. Every Cinco De Mayo I like to put on a nice velour jogging suit, whip up a little chamomile tea and take a leisurely stroll down Santa Clara St. and soak in all the stabbings. Very zen.

Where’s the place to see a show in San Jose?

Unquestionably the Gingerbread House. It’s by far my favorite place to play. They get a lot of touring bands that are under the radar and are real independent musicians scraping by, driving through the country just having a good time. The bands don’t have to worry about drawing a crowd, because there’s always enough friends to fill it up. You don’t have the stress of club owners and promoters being bummed on the lack of support. The room sounds amazing and Todd and the crew who live there are such great people. They open up their house to let strangers do their art, which is definitely a very generous and selfless act. It’s an important bubble in our little scene here.

What’s San Jose’s best kept secret?

R & D Liquors on Willow has free hot coffee!

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