The National’s Matt Berninger released his debut solo album Serpentine Prison back in October. Since he can’t tour behind his release, the musician has been sharing his new music in performances on late-night television. But for his recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Berninger opted to deliver a cover instead of an original song.
For the performance, Berninger pulled from The Velvet Underground’s catalog to share a faithful rendition of their song “I’m Waiting For My Man.” The musician passionately delivered the song’s lyrics in his lofty studio while being supported by a cacophony of instruments from his backup band.
Taking on the cover was a comfortable feat for Berninger, who originally planned to make his debut solo LP strictly a covers album. Speaking about the project in a recent interview with Uproxx, Berninger said his producer Booker T. Jones convinced him to focus on his original music: “I wanted to do a bunch of covers just so I could get outside of my comfort zone. Then in that process with Booker, I sent him a few originals — there was one I wrote with Walt Martin, ‘Distant Axis,’ that he really, really was into. And that’s when he said, ‘Let’s start focusing on the originals.’ We ended up doing 12 originals and six covers in 14 days. ”
Watch Berninger’s performance of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man” on The Tonight Show above.
Serpentine Prison is out now via Concord. Get it here.