Cover bands come in many different variations, but most stick to a particular genre of music and cobble together setlists by pulling songs from numerous musical groups. Tribute bands chose to pay homage to a single musical act by playing songs only from their catalog.
And then there’s Mac Sabbath, a unique and peculiar act with a feverish cult following that’s reimagining the songs of Black
Sabbath while dressed as demented versions of the beloved McDonald’s characters.
Described by their manager as “a band of Monsanto mutants who came here from a wormhole in space-time direct from 1970,” Mac Sabbath resembles the lovable cast of characters inhabiting McDonaldland, but the group’s portrayal is a little less Sid & Marty Krofft and slightly more Stephen King recovering from food poisoning at the hands of a Quarter Pounder with cheese.
The band, self-anointed “founders of drive-thru metal,” consists of frontman Ronald Osbourne, guitarist Slayer MacCheeze, bassist Grimalice, and drummer Catburglar. They hail from LA but were “born from the bowels of outer space,” according to their official website.
It’s apparent in every performance that the guys are huge fans of Black Sabbath, but vehemently despise the company behind the Golden Arches and fast-food culture in general. Mac Sabbath’s lyrics are humorous, biting, condemnatory and focus on issues such as the long-term health effects of genetically modified food and the low wages paid to workers.
Here’s a sample of lyrics from their song “Pair-a-Buns,” Mac Sabbath’s satirical slant on the Black Sabbath hit “Paranoid.”
All day long we slaughter things
Trying to keep you satisfied
We use feed that grows a cow
Or chicken twice than half its size
Can you help me
Scratch the tumor on my brain
Adding to the theatrics is Mac Sabbath’s dedication to the gimmick. All of the members maintain complete anonymity and refuse to grant interviews. The band speaks only through a manager, Mike Odd. Odd does his part to continue the band’s charade while making outlandish claims about Mac Sabbath’s origins.
The Origins Of Mac Sabbath
Odd chronicled his first meeting with the gang, and the details mirror the bizarre antics presented in a Sabbath’s stage show. He received an anonymous phone call from a group member and agreed to meet in person.
“This abomination of a clown stumbles into this place—a skull-faced clown, makeup dripping, wearing a dirty fringed, dragging-the-ground outfit and just starts barking all of this nonsense at me that I’ve found my new destiny (which) is to be the manager of his new entity that is Mac Sabbath.”
Odd jokes that he assumed he was on a hidden camera show during the meeting. But by the time it was over, Osbourne convinced Odd to attend a concert in the basement of a restaurant. Within minutes, the music rep knew he needed to sign the foursome, calling the spectacle “one of the most amazing things” he’d ever seen.
After building an underground following throughout the Golden State, a fan posting to the official Black Sabbath Facebook page made the quartet a viral sensation. The heightened exposure on media outlets such as Fox News and MTV, coupled with the anonymity of the crew, turned Mac Sabbath into of the most sought-after tribute bands in the country. The influx of attention led to a major tour in 2015, and an invite to perform at the Download Festival in Leicestershire, England, sharing the bill with metal and rock heavyweights like Judas Priest, Motley Crue, and Slipknot.
Critics look highly on Mac Sabbath’s musicianship and consistently give the band high marks. The Phoenix New Times called the band’s concept “one of the most brilliant ideas in a long time” and the Orlando Weekly dubbed the act a “genuine cult phenomenon” following an extensive tour that lasted most of 2016.
What’s Next On The Menu For Mac Sabbath?
The band finished up their Mockstrosity tour in April 2017 and released a music video to coincide with the club dates.
The quirky quartet continues to play random shows around the country but is yet to announce definitive plans for a studio album. The “Pair-a-Buns” video and Flexi Disc included in the exclusive Mockstrosity activity book is the band’s only studio recording to date.
The McDonald’s Corporation has not yet commented on the group.