Mac Sabbath: You Deserve a Mac Today
The music of prime-era Black Sabbath has served as inspiration for countless bands, applying the drop-tuned, doom-laden style of the Birmingham, England, foursome to their own creative ends. But perhaps the most unusual band to follow in Black Sabbath’s wake is Los Angeles quartet Mac Sabbath.
The group’s sound will be familiar to many listeners: The melodies closely follow the music of Sabbath’s 1970s albums. And the group members will be eerily recognizable as well, but perhaps not in the way one might expect. Lead singer Ronald Osbourne is covered in clown makeup with a shaggy red wig and dressed in a baggy red, white and yellow suit.
The rest of the band looks suspiciously like fast-food mascots gone wrong as well: guitarist Slayer MacCheeze sports a giant head that looks like a mass-produced cheeseburger (with horns borrowed from Spinal Tap’s stage setup). Drummer Catburglar is a cartoonish cross between Kiss drummer Peter Criss and a masked thief. Bassist Grimalice … well, you get the idea.
The band doesn’t grant interviews, and band manager Mike Odd explains why, using a not-so-subtle Black Sabbath reference: “Ronald is … paranoid,” he says. Instead, he speaks on the group’s behalf and recalls how he first got involved with the freaky foursome.
“I got this call, and the guy says, ‘You’ve got to come down to this burger franchise in Chatsworth, Calif.; it’s going to change your life.’ Odd’s reply: “Yeah, I’ll bite.”
There he encountered a costumed quartet playing Black Sabbath tunes, but their lyrics sought to launch a “dinner rock revolution,” extolling the evils of fast food, processed ingredients, multinational corporations, genetically modified organisms and the like. Odd was immediately won over and began booking the group at venues in Southern California.
Inevitably — even in a cultural landscape overrun with high-concept ideas — Mac Sabbath got noticed. “I put a thing on YouTube, and it instantly went crazy,” Odd recalls. With a mischievous smile, he notes that “Fox News was the first major outlet that picked up Mac Sabbath; they said all these awful things about them!”
It didn’t hurt, either, when Black Sabbath’s official social media posted a link to the video. In short order, Mac Sabbath was invited to perform in England at the 2015 Download Festival, sharing a bill with Kiss, Mötley Crüe and Slipknot. They even played a private party given in honor of Ozzy Osbourne.
Yet, Mac Sabbath simply cannot operate according to traditional rules of rock ‘n’ roll. Ronald’s paranoia seeps through in his between-song banter, as he rants about other bands he imagines are stealing his ideas. Odd ticks off a list: “Cinnabon Jovi, Weezer Schnitzel, Burger King Diamond, KFC/DC … even Van HaLensCrafters. And they’re not even food! How dare they!”
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.