When Bob Nastanovich, multi-instrumentalist of '90s "slacker" band Pavement, mentions he's in "the larval stages of a pretty massive trip," we can be forgiven for thinking, hey, the old party days are back! But that's not what he meant.
"I just visited a friend in Minneapolis, saw the Twins and the Tigers play, flew back to Iowa and now Denver. I'm now flying 11 hours to Frankfurt and then on and on, to Poland. It's about 28 hours all told." He pauses. "But it's worthwhile just to bring Pavement to the Polish."
Fantastyczne! In its lurching run through alt-rock from 1991 to 1999, Pavement never set foot in eastern Europe. Now, as a reunited nostalgia act, they're circling the globe, taking the lo-fi sounds that defined a certain corner of post-Nirvana rock to audiences that never heard them the first time.
That corner has grown slightly in the preceding decade -- while bandleader Stephen Malkmus crafted a solo career, and Des Moines-based Nastanovich returned to his day job as a chart caller at horse racing tracks (he spends three months each year working at Hawthorne Race Course in nearby Cicero) -- though most people remember Pavement, if they remember them at all, as that quirky '90s band with one moderate hit (1994's "Cut Your Hair"). But the reunion, announced a year ahead of time, has generated hype much bigger than that bio suggests.
Sunday night they bring the reunion to Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival. Nastanovich talked with the Sun-Times about why such a thing has happened -- and about the mini-reunion that could have been at Pitchfork 2007: