- Paul Koudounaris
- Never say diet: 'Sometimes it's hilarious,' says Mac Sabbath manager Mike Odd. 'Sometimes it's not so hilarious.'
Mike Odd has a strange job.
He's both manager and spokesman for Mac Sabbath, the world's greatest drive-thru congregation of twisted McDonaldland doppelgängers, 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 reposted the band's video for "Frying Pan," a reworking of "Iron Man," on Facebook and Twitter on New Year's Day 2015, Mac Sabbath burst out of its Southern California confines and has been wreaking its fries-meet-heavy-rock havoc around the world ever since.
Odd was brought on board by the determinedly anonymous bandmembers in part because he has his own "theatrical horror rock band" called Rosemary's Billygoat, and in part because he's an admitted weirdo.
"When you're a weirdo, you hold certain things near and dear," says Odd. "Black Sabbath invented heavy metal, punk rock, goth, everything that's cool if you're a weirdo. If you look at 1970 when 'Paranoid' came out, there was nothing that fast, like a modern punk rock song. In the late '60s, 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."
Ronald would be Ronald Osbourne, the twisted singer in Mac Sabbath, who bears a striking resemblance to a certain clown from the fast-food chain that shall not be specifically 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 MacCheeze, 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 "Sweet Beef" in Mac Sabbath's hands, 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 sighs. "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."
In Odd's telling of the story, he was recruited by Osbourne — Ronald, not Ozzy — while eating at a burger joint in Chatsworth, California, and taken to a band performance underneath another fast-food eatery in the San Fernando Valley.
The band began playing shows around California. Then came the social media posts from Black Sabbath.
"That's what really made it happen," Odd says. "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 Black Sabbath 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 Motley Crue. Mac Sabbath extensively tours the States now, continuing to connect with fans around the country.
Why does the combination work so well?
"There's something that happened with these characters and Black Sabbath," says Odd. "I guess it's the way they work together so well. They're both so psychedelic and '70s 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 reasons that don't need to be enumerated."
Mac Sabbath is now all over YouTube. But the band has yet to make a studio recording.
"There's a possibility [of a studio record], but that seems to be a difficult thing to achieve," Odd admits. "There's a little tiny something coming up that isn't anything anybody's expecting. That's about all I can say about that. Could I be any more vague? I don't think so."
So, for now, Mac Sabbath exists only onstage, where it brings its thundering chaos with Grimalice shredding and Osbourne being Osbourne.
"It lasts a little over an hour," Odd said. "It depends on Ronald. He's not very predictable. There's a good eight to 12 songs, depending on what happens."
So, Ronald gets a little out of control?
"The problem is that he is in control, Odd says. "You're talking about a disturbed clown who maintains he's traveled in the time-space continuum from the '70s to warn us about the evils of fast food and to get us back to the '70s when music and food were still genuine. 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. There's always a backlash. Sometimes it's hilarious. Sometimes it's not so hilarious."
Surprisingly enough, this all adds up to good, clean, decibel-heavy fun for the whole family — at least that's how Odd sees it.
"When you break it all down after it's over, everything he's doing is a kid-friendly, family thing. There's no R-rated stuff in there. No sex or drugs or any of that stuff. Ronald doesn't work blue."