David Letterman and Matt Berninger of The National. Credit: Michael Kovac and Matthew Baker/Getty Images

David Letterman has opened up about why he chose The National to perform on his return episode of The Late Show.

While appearing as a special guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Letterman was asked if there were any particular performances that stuck out to him during his time as the late-night talk show host, to which he chose to speak about The National.

“This is the second time in my life that this is happening here and I am thrilled about both occurrences. We were talking about being on the programme and the question came up ‘What about the music?’,” Letterman said.

“And I said ‘What about The National?’, because I had just spent some time with them recently and had been to a show recently and have just kind of fallen in love with their music. It’s tremendous.”

He went on to explain that someone told him they were currently on tour but that they would get in contact with the band. The group decided they would leave the tour to appear on Letterman’s episode of The Late Show.

A similar occurrence happened to Letterman with the Foo Fighters a few years prior. “This happened one other time with the Foo Fighters, so tip of the hat to the Foo Fighters,” he said. “When I came back from surgery, they were on tour somewhere in South America and came way out of their way to come and be on that show. So those two groups, I’ll love them forever.”

The National went on to perform their track ‘Space Invader’ from their album ‘Laughing Track‘. In a four-star review of the LP, NME said: “In a statement shared with the record, Berninger says the period “feels like the shedding of a skin” and the band walk into the unknown once again for their next creative cycle: a thrilling new chapter will surely emerge.”

This is not the first time Letterman speaks highly about The National and his love for the band. Earlier this year, Letterman claimed that he wishes he “could be frontman Matt Berninger”.

He made the comments in a new YouTube video in May, sharing his views on the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame class with longtime colleagues Barbara Gaines and Mary Barclay.

“Oh, I love the National,” he explained, going on to label them as “your saddest friend’s favourite band.”

He also expressed his admiration for one of their songs, which wasn’t featured on their latest LP, ‘First Two Pages Of Frankenstein’: “They had this song called ‘Weird Goodbyes,’ which is not on the new album,” he said, going on to recite some of the song’s lyrics. “[Berninger is] singing about the weird goodbyes… ‘I don’t know why I don’t try harder.’

“He is a man who is preoccupied. It’s been a sad parting of the ways [with his] family. ‘I don’t know why I don’t try harder’ — that’s preoccupying Matt Berninger…”

He continued, going on the make a sarcastic quip at other lyrics in the track. “Now here comes the punch… ‘I feel like throwing towels into water.’ Woah, Jesus, what a madman! Call the police! The guy’s gonna throw towels into water,” he joked.

“I say that because I love the National, and I wish I could be Matt Berninger because nobody’s cooler than Matt Berninger. They ought to be in the Hall Of Fame.”

Elsewhere, Berninger spoke to NME about the “different kind of spotlight” that has fallen on the band after working with Taylor Swift.

“The Taylor thing was super organic,” Berninger told NME for this week’s In Conversation interview. “We’ve known her for a long time and obviously Aaron has been doing so much amazing stuff with her. I wrote ‘The Alcott’ with my wife Carin [Besser] in mind, Aaron sent it to Taylor and she added her own perspective on it and wrote all her parts to it. It was a true duet where she heard that and inhabited the character that I was singing about – which is almost always Carin.”

Berninger continued: “It’s not really a strategic game. Obviously Aaron’s work with Taylor Swift is going to bring a different kind of spotlight, but it’s been fun and cool. All of that has been a really healthy branching out.”

The post David Letterman explains why he chose The National for his ‘The Late Show’ return appeared first on NME.


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