For Bob Nastanovich, the class clown of Pavement, this whole reunion thing is just as much work as play. On his one off day between Sunday night’s Williamsburg Waterfront show and the four-night Central Park stand starting tonight (tickets are, uh, available), he DJ’d at the Living Room last night, where he and the tour’s stage manager took turns playing actual vinyl on actual turntables. “I carry my 7-inches with me,” he explained, pointing to a full shopping bag. “We did this once in Seattle. I’m not a DJ, but I do love these records.” He paused to switch to an old-timey, tin-y sounding track; “Hey, this one’s great,” he exclaimed confidently, showing me the sleeve as I pretended to understand the odd selection. (It was “Midnight for Two” by the Three Suns.) Potentially stranger but equally delightful picks included “Rapper’s Delight” — complete with a hands-on-the-wall booty dance — and Michael Jackson. Few patrons at the nearly empty bar had any idea what was going on, and those that did stood a careful distance away, trying to hide their excitement. Every now and again, someone would bridge the divide and approach him for a photo op. “He loves it,” assured a friend.
In fact, almost everyone at the tiny rock bar was a personal friend of the 43-year-old — he walked about, introducing everyone by name. (It’s a decidedly endearing trait, as far as we’re concerned.) “We used to live next to each other, back in Iowa,” explained one guy with quiet reverence. A handful of Pavement cohorts lurked by the turntables, mostly stage hands, lighting folk, and other tour types. Nastanovich, meanwhile, was breezy, sipping on a beer and making light conversation with anyone who walked up to him. Oftentimes he’d break into spastic dance moves at the onset of a new record, though there was no screaming, which is kind of his thing onstage. “You know, I got a lot of criticism about last night’s show,” he admitted with a shade of sadness. He went on to cite a review that found him “too talky” (not the Times‘ exact words) and another that calls him “boring” (which he certainly wasn’t tonight). There’s something endearing but kind of heart-rending about it, his concern. I weakly assured him that his stage presence charmed some people, but he wouldn’t budge. “I’m really going to work on that for these next few shows,” he concluded earnestly. “I need to make some changes.”