Mike Odd has a tough job. He's the man in charge of Mac Sabbath, the world's greatest drive-through metal band that's made up of twisted doppelgangers of McDonaldland inhabitants led by a creepy clown who's got a problem with fast food and sings about it via Black Sabbath songs.
An instant sensation after Black Sabbath posted its video for "Frying Pan," a reworking of "Iron Man," on Facebook and Twitter in 2015, Mac Sabbath burst out of Southern California and has been wreaking its fries-meet-heavy-rock havoc around the world since then.
"When you're a weirdo, you hold certain things near and dear," Odd said in a recent phone interview. "Black Sabbath invented heavy metal, punk rock, goth, everything that's cool. In the late 1960s, there was nothing as creepy and ominous as Black Sabbath. They've really influenced everything you love if you're a counterculture weirdo. And there's no bigger weirdo than Ronald."
- Paul Koudounaris
- Mac Sabbath
Ronald would be Ronald Osbourne, the twisted genius behind Mac Sabbath, who bears a striking resemblance to a certain clown from the fast-food chain that shall not be named — for copyright infringement purposes — and shares his last name with Black Sabbath's star, Ozzy.
He's joined in Mac Sabbath by cheeseburger-headed guitarist Slayer Mac Cheeze, gumdrop-shaped bassist Grimalice (who may or may not be related to Grimace), and drummer Catburglar, a particularly twisted cross between the Hamburglar and The Catman from Kiss.
Their repertoire consists of Black Sabbath songs repurposed for Ronald's campaign to free the earth of fast food. So "Paranoid" becomes "Pair-a-Buns," "Sweet Leaf" is, in Mac Sabbath's hands, "Sweet Beef," and "Never Say Die" becomes "Never Say Diet."
"A lot of people look at it and think it's a pro-fast food culture thing," Odd said. "In the same way they look at Black Sabbath and think they're doing a commercial for evil at large. Then you break down the lyrics, and they were making a warning about evil. This is a warning about fast food and the evils it will do to your soul."
The band started out playing small shows. Then came the social media posts from Black Sabbath.
"That's what really made it happen," Odd said. "You've got to give it up to Black Sabbath, not just for influencing the band, but for promoting the band. It wouldn't have gotten to this level if they didn't get the joke and support it."
The Black Sabbath post landed the band an invitation to play England's Download Festival, along with Kiss, Judas Priest, and Mötley Crüe. Returning to the U.S., Mac Sabbath got out of California and has extensively toured, continuing to connect with fans around the country.
"There's something that happened with these characters and Black Sabbath," he said. "I guess it's the way they work together so well. They're both so psychedelic and 1970s and creepy at the same time. There's something about the nature of people who like Black Sabbath that relates to the cheeseburger culture as well."
For now, Mac Sabbath exists only on stage, with Grimalice shredding and Osbourne being Osbourne.
"You're talking about a disturbed clown who maintains he's traveled in the time/space continuum from the 1970s to warn us about the evils of fast food," said Odd of Osbourne. "So you have a person — I don't know if person is the right word — you're looking at an entity who is constantly battling technology."
What it ultimately is is good, clean, loud-rocking fun for the whole family — at least that's how Odd sees it.
"One of the most amazing things about it is it looks like this big, scary, gnarly thing with these laser-eyed skull clowns and this heavy, creepy music," he said. "When you break it all down, everything he's doing is a kid-friendly, family thing. There's no R-rated stuff. No sex or drugs. Ronald doesn't work blue. It's an entertaining thing the family could enjoy." Mac Sabbath plays the Hi Tone Tuesday, September 3rd at 9 p.m. $20.