Dec 142013

Bear with me — there’s some metal at the end of this.

This post is about two things that happened to me yesterday as a result of my day job.  The first thing happened during a work-related lunch I had with someone we do business with. I was meeting with him for only the second time. At some point, making small talk, I told him that the place where I work was having its annual office holiday party last night at a restaurant and bar named Radiator Whiskey. It features one whole wall of nothing but the brown stuff — bourbon, rye, and scotch — all of which I like. After I told him that, he said, “I hope you don’t have major katzenjammer on Saturday morning”.

He pronounced “katzenjammer” in the German way (something like “kah-tsahn-yah-ma”), instead of the way a monolingual American like me would say it. After I asked him to spell the word, I realized I’d heard it before, oddly enough because somewhere I came across a stray bit of trivia that stuck in my head, about an old comic strip called The Katzenjammer Kids (I’ll come back to that). But I didn’t know what the word meant, so I asked him. Here’s what The Font of All Human Knowledge says about the word, which is pretty close to what the guy told me at lunch:

“Katzenjammer is a German word literally meaning ‘cat’s wail’ (caterwaul) and hence ‘discordant sound’, sometimes used to indicate a general state of depression or bewilderment. It has also been used as a term for a hangover, with the sufferer’s groans of discomfort being humorously likened to a wailing cat.”

So you can see now why my new friend said what he said after I told him about the impending holiday party at that place with a wall of brown stuff for which I have a serious weakness.

The second thing that happened as a result of my day job yesterday was that I tried to sample everything on that wall last night. And man, the fuckin’ cats in my fuckin’ head are wailing like goddamned banshees this morning.

In a recent NCS post and the ensuing comments, people mentioned a lot of activities they engage in with metal as their musical accompaniment — including (of all things) going to sleep. No one mentioned katzenjammer as a condition that goes well with metal. In my case, they’re utterly incompatible. If I were given a choice between listening to metal right now in my current condition and having an icepick jammed in my ear, it would be a close call.

So, this next song is one I haven’t even heard, because I’m afraid it would explode my head. I’m featuring it because its name is “Deliver Us From Flesh”, which is pretty much what I’m praying for right now. It’s by a band from Halifax, Nova Scotia named Versifist, and the song will appear on a cassette entitled Scripting the Catechism, to be released by Vault Of Dried Bones in early 2014.

Oh, fuck it. I might as well include something else I haven’t heard. Someone sent me a link to this yesterday, but I can’t remember who it was. Shit, at the moment I can’t remember who I am. I really don’t know anything about it except it seems to involve someone messing with a Meshuggah song. The title is “Come On and Bleed”, which is what I think the cats in my head are screeching, and is described as “Quad City DJ’s vs. Meshuggah”.

P.S. Per The Font of All Human Knowledge, “The Katzenjammer Kids is an American comic strip created by the German immigrant Rudolph Dirks and drawn by Harold H. Knerr for 37 years (1912 to 1949). It debuted December 12, 1897 in the American Humorist, the Sunday supplement of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Dirks was the first cartoonist to express dialogue in comic characters through the use of speech balloons.”

Based on that quoted article, the history of the comic strip is pretty interesting and occasionally pretty weird.

P.P.S. Here’s another interesting bit of trivia from The Font:  “‘Katzenjammer’, a song by Kyuss on the album Wretch. ‘Katzenjammer’ was also the first name used by that band in the 1987-1989 era, before being called ‘Sons of Kyuss’, and then, Kyuss.”

Aw hell, I might as well put that in here, too.  I haven’t heard it, of course. And with that, I’m now going to curl up again in a fetal position and resume moaning pathetically.


  18 Responses to “KATZENJAMMER”

  1. The first time I recall hearing the word “katzenjammer” was when I was watching Inglourious Basterds and the British guy was meeting with another British guy to talk about killing Hitler.

    Also, I sometimes go to sleep to metal, although it’s almost never done purposefully–if ever.

  2. I like the Versifist song.

  3. I realized a long time ago I cant drink to that level anymore…despite my love for high alcohol beers (and no I dont mean Canadian beers). Im just such a sleepy drunk that anything more than a nice buzz will put have me curling up on the floor for a long winters nap

    • Yeah, I’m pretty much the same. I’ve largely distanced myself from the sort of people who just want to party all the time / consider a high tolerance a point of pride. It’s made those occasions when I do indulge in a few beers a lot more enjoyable.

    • I’m an animated gregarious drunk and seem to derive added energy from it. Which is part of the problem — I don’t pay the price until the next day. But it’s such a heavy price that I try not to make a habit of doing what I did last night.

    • No Canadian beers? How’s that? Try the Death Valley, tripe hop, 750ml, 8% alc. vol. Really good.

      • I just meant I wasnt talking about something like Molsen Ice as most Canadian macros are thought of as having higher ABV’s than their American equivalents.

        I dont think we get Brasseurs R.J. beers down my way, but I do very much enjoy beers by Unibroue…one of the few North American brewers that can make really good Belgian style beers

  4. Aw, for a second there I thought this was about the Norwegian band.

    A note about Katzenjammer, it’s a somewhat archaic/marked word in German, not really used in colloquial speech unless it’s deliberately chosen for its quaintness value or something similar. It might actually be more common as a Germanism in English than it is in German nowadays. For a hangover “Kater” is used instead, which is the term for a male cat. Always with the felines.

    • HA! So even though Katzenjammer has become archaic, it has still influenced the currently used word. And I did see a reference in Wiki to a Norwegian band named Katzenjammer, described as pop/folk, and to a band named Katzenjammer Kabarett, escrowed as “a French dark cabaret/deathrock band”. I guess I should see what they’re about.

      • Katzenjammer is the most metal non-metal band out there. A bar in Amsterdam should get covered by a metal band. Seriously, those chicks are insane.

  5. How does a monolingual American pronounce ‘katzenjammer’? ‘Cat, zen, jammer’? Because that actually sounds cooler. I haven’t spoken a lick of German for ten years and was never much good at it, but for some reason it never struck me that some people would Americanize relatively straightforward foreign expressions.

  6. ugg, the office holiday party. my wife and i are skipping that, this year. we usually attend the ER xmas party with all the docs and nurses, and it’s very fancy with good food, wine, karaoke, blah blah. but it’s not the kind of thing you really need to do more than once, kind of a snooze.

  7. Katzenjammer is also a pretty cool norwegian band, this is their most snappy song, A Bar in Amsterdam!

  8. German is not the only language which connects kitties to hangovers; in Dutch the word for hangover is ‘kater’, which in English is a male cat.

    But yeah, I feel for you man; I’ve had katzenjammers that made the choice between an icepick in my ear and living by itself in general a tough call 😉

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