Pop Quiz: The National


Aidin Vaziri | Matt Berninger, lead singer of the National, is doing double duty. He’s promoting “Mistaken for Strangers,” a hilarious and heartbreaking new tour documentary about the band directed by his scruffy younger brother Tom Berninger. He’s also on the road for the group’s third or fourth pass through the country in support of its most recent album, the Grammy-nominated “Trouble Will Find Me.” We spoke to him on opening night in Toronto. The National performs this week at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley.

Q: I went into it expecting something like Radiohead’s “Meeting People Is Easy” but it’s more like Will Ferrell’s “Step Brothers.”

A: Totally. To be perfectly honest, there was a certain amount of anxiety about what Tom was going to come up with. The plan wasn’t to make a movie, just some goofball videos for our website. When he got fired and we heard that he was working on a feature-length documentary, there were some red flags that went off. Not only is Tom not the slickest documentarian, but he was there for some less-than-flattering moments. When everybody finally saw it, it clicked why this is the best kind of movie for the band. It almost feels like a National song.

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