The National’s Matt Berninger appeared on Monday night’s Tonight Show to perform a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man.” (Host Jimmy Fallon erroneously introduced it as a track from Berninger’s debut solo album Serpentine Prison — we wish.)
In the spirited pre-taped performance, Berninger mustered up his best baritone voice to channel Lou Reed’s desperate heroin addict, traveling uptown to Harlem to purchase a $26 bag of the good stuff. It’s not really the type of cover you can imagine the National pulling off, but with his solo band, Berninger does a fantastic job. After all, this isn’t his first Velvet Underground rodeo: In 2016, he dueted with Andrew Bird on Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” and he later recorded a cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s “European Son” for Serpentine Prison, before deciding to scrap it on collaborator Booker T.’s advice.
Berninger released Serpentine Prison this past October and released I Am Easy to Find with the National in 2019. He also collaborated with singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas on a duet version of her new song “Pray It Away,” which was co-written and produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner. Earlier this fall, he performed the Serpentine Prison single “One More Second” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
From Rolling Stone US