Standing out in the realm of music is not an easy feat to pull off. There is so much competition out there, leading to truly gifted musicians fading into obscurity because they didn’t quite have the edge that made them stand out from the rest of the acts out there.
Some acts stand out from the crowd because of their musical genius, and others stand out because of their ability to market or create a compelling gimmick. Which, of course, leads to tribute acts being able to stand out from the crowd by replicating the style and gimmicks of the performers they are mimicking.
However, there is one group out there who have managed to become a unique tribute band, with an original gimmick that lead them to pioneering a whole new sub-genre where the only competition they really have to face is themselves.
Allow me to introduce you to the world of ‘Mac Sabbath’!
THE STRANGE & UNUSUAL WORLD OF MAC SABBATH
In the early months of 2014, a mysterious force emerged from the depths of the Los Angeles rock and metal underground. With an elaborate back-story claiming to originate from a delicate part of the space-time continuum, Mac Sabbath burst onto the scene. Their true identities shrouded in secrecy, they chose to let their characters take the spotlight.
The world first caught wind of Mac Sabbath through a now-removed demo recording titled "Chicken for the Slaves," a hilarious parody of Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave." It debuted on their official YouTube and Facebook accounts on March 26, 2014, instantly captivating audiences with their fast food-themed twist on the legendary band's music.
Lead singer of the Los Angeles hard rock outfit 'Rosemary's Billygoat', Mike Odd, stepped forward as the band's manager, acting as their spokesperson in press releases. But the real magic lay in the performances of Mac Sabbath themselves.
On July 12, 2014, Mac Sabbath took their spectacle to the stage for the very first time. As part of an art show at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station, they unleashed their infectious energy on an unsuspecting audience. From there, they embarked on a series of sporadic nightclub performances throughout Los Angeles, injecting their surrealistic flair into each show.
Even the Micheltorena Elementary School in Silver Lake became the backdrop for one of Mac Sabbath's mind-bending performances during the school's Halloween festival. Their ability to merge music and comedy left a lasting impression, captivating both musically and comedically.
As the headlining act for the grand finale of the three-day Long Beach Zombie Walk on October 26, 2014, Mac Sabbath solidified their reputation as outstanding performers. With their infectious energy, Ronald Osbourne and his band of characters kept the crowd engaged and the smiles wide. OC Weekly aptly noted, "Though Mac Sabbath is a one-line joke, they are great performers."
From their cryptic origins to their unrelenting stage presence, Mac Sabbath continues to captivate audiences with their extraordinary blend of music, humour, and fast food-inspired madness.
The fast food four-piece consists of Ronald Osbourne (vocal), who looks like Ronald MacDonald’s sociopathic cousin, Slayer McCheeze (guitar), Grimalice (Bass) who also goes by the name ‘I can’t Believe It’s not Butler’ and Catburglar (Drums) who as goes by the name ‘Peter Criss Cut Fries’.
Shrouded in an air of mystery and theatrics, each member of Mac Sabbath strives to preserve their anonymity by hiding behind their enigmatic characters. Interviews are a rarity, as the band prefers to communicate solely through their manager, the enigmatic Mike Odd. Best known as the lead singer of 'Rosemary's Billygoat', Odd dons the role of Mac Sabbath's spokesperson, weaving elaborate tales about the band's origins.
According to Odd's fantastical account, the serendipitous encounter with Mac Sabbath transpired when he received an anonymous call, summoning him to a Chatsworth fast food joint in late 2013. Little did he know that this meeting would introduce him to Ronald Osbourne, Mac Sabbath's captivating lead singer, fully adorned in costume and immersed in character. Intrigued by Odd's reputation with 'Rosemary's Billygoat', Osbourne enticed him into managing Mac Sabbath.
As the legend goes, Mac Sabbath's early performances remained clandestine, unfolding in the basements of undisclosed eateries. One such show invited Odd to witness the spectacle first-hand, solidifying his decision to join forces with the band. Osbourne, as Odd recounts, claims to hail from an enchanted forest in the 1970s, where burgers miraculously sprout from trees. Allegedly traversing the time-space continuum, Osbourne's mission is to forewarn society about government control over our sustenance.
Odd weaves these extraordinary tales with unwavering conviction, affirming their authenticity in every interview. The Village Voice once remarked that distinguishing truth from fabrication in Odd's narratives can be challenging, while The Source Weekly mused that his unwavering commitment to the eccentric Osbourne's ideology blurs the line between reality and fantasy. Perhaps, deep down, a part of us yearns to embrace the mesmerizing mythology woven by this intriguing band.
WHEN HEROES COLLIDE
While Black Sabbath has not formally addressed the existence of Mac Sabbath, a significant moment occurred on January 1, 2015, when Black Sabbath's official Facebook page shared a link about the band through an article by the LAist. Although the post was unaccompanied by any commentary, it served as a public acknowledgement.
In August 2018, Mac Sabbath piqued curiosity by sharing a photo on their social media accounts featuring the enigmatic Ozzy Osbourne, front-man of Black Sabbath, posing alongside the band in an undisclosed location. The encounter caused a stir and was eventually covered in a December article and video by Rolling Stone. It was revealed that the meeting took place during an episode of Osbourne's reality television series, "Ozzy & Jack's World Detour." In a heart-warming twist, Osbourne's son, Jack, surprised his father with a private performance by Mac Sabbath. When asked about the band, Ozzy expressed his admiration for their clown-like antics, finding the parody amusing and enjoyable. He offered a candid remark, stating, "If you can't handle being parodied, then don't fucking do it."
While no official statement from Black Sabbath has been made, these instances demonstrate an intriguing connection between the legendary metal pioneers and the enigmatic tribute band.
TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM
Following their viral success, Mac Sabbath embarked on an extensive tour of California in early 2015, including a headline performance at the iconic Whisky a Go Go on April 15. It's worth noting that this historic venue hosted Black Sabbath's first North American show back in 1971.
In June, the band received an invitation to play at England's renowned Download Festival, sharing the stage with heavy metal legends like 'KISS', 'Judas Priest', and 'Mötley Crüe'. To complement their festival appearance, Mac Sabbath arranged six additional shows across England, cleverly naming it the "British Royals with Cheese Tour." This tongue-in-cheek reference played on the McDonald's Quarter Pounder sandwich's alternative name, "Royal Cheese," in countries not using US customary measurements. In an interview with LA Weekly, Mike Odd humorously remarked that Mac Sabbath may have been the first band to play in England before leaving California.
After their UK adventure, Mac Sabbath embarked on multiple extensive tours throughout the United States. They kicked off with a West Coast tour in July, captivating audiences in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Notably, they also rocked the stage at the prestigious Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco, where Elton John and Mumford & Sons headlined. In September, the band embarked on a twelve-show "East Cheeses Tour," traversing nine states on the East Coast. This was immediately followed by the nine-date "New-Tex-Mex-Orado" tour, covering Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. The national tour concluded with a Halloween night headlining performance at Hollywood's Whisky A-Go-Go, supported by 'Krammpstein', a Krampus-themed tribute to German metal band Rammstein.
Critics widely praised Mac Sabbath's nationwide shows. The Phoenix New Times lauded their concept as "one of the most brilliant ideas in a long time," praising their engaging performance, irreverent humour, and ornate style. The Houston Press commended the band's visual presentation and applauded the satire and social commentary within their lyrics, considering it a significant statement on modern American culture. The San Antonio Current commended their rock energy, remarking that they took parody to new levels. While Ronald Osbourne's vocals received some criticism for being off-key, numerous reviewers acknowledged his stage presence and described his vocals as hellish, compensating for any technical shortcomings.
Mac Sabbath's theatricality, musicianship, and unique brand of social commentary garnered widespread acclaim throughout their national tour.
At present, Mac Sabbath is still active and touring across the US. While releases from the band have been minimal at best, you can find samples of their work over on their website and YouTube channel.
Thank you for joining me on this captivating journey through the whimsical world of Mac Sabbath! If you've enjoyed this post, don't miss out on exclusive updates and offers. Sign up for my mailing list now and receive a FREE digital copy of the first issue of 'Ed Gein: Demon Hunter'—a thrilling outlaw comics mini-series—as a token of my appreciation.