Trigger Warning: This article contains images of fried animal flesh, bat burgers, parodies of beloved, iconic global brands, and clowns!
I’ve wanted to see Mac Sabbath live since they came onto my radar back in 2014.
Merry New Year!
I give you the gift of that which cannot be unseen: Mac Sabbath – Frying Pan http://t.co/CNCacBfiR3
— dixē.flatlin3 (@dixeflatlin3) January 1, 2015
Sadly, life got in the way, and it wasn’t until recently that I fortuitously spotted a targeted ad for one of their local shows. Thanks to the speed of the Internet, I procured a ticket within minutes.
A benefit of moving to a new area has been the discovery of venues and not having the dread of knowing what I am getting myself into. This evening was no exception; however, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. Even more so by the ease of which I secured a chair on the balcony overlooking the stage.
As the transition from opening act to headliner began, the strains of ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ by the Dickies came across the house PA. I knew I was not going to be disappointed.
Mac Sabbath takes the stage to Sinatra’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ and immediately launch into the opening riff of the classic Black Sabbath anthem ‘War Pigs.’ Only in this alternate reality it’s ‘More Ribs’ and the band looks like the toys from a Happy Meal® straight outta Hell.
Ronald Osbourne appears in a straightjacket, delivering the cleverly reworked lyrics in a hilariously Ozzy-like way. All of the members stay in character and do an astonishing job of mimicking the mannerisms of their namesakes. Aside from Ronald, there is guitarist Slayer MacCheeze, bassist Grimalice and drummer the Catburglar, alternately known as “Peter Criss Cut Fries.” It’s clear there is a lot of thought and planning behind their kitschy shtick. And it is executed flawlessly. Could we expect anything less from the creators of Drive-Thru Metal?
I cannot say if those in attendance were particularly fans of Sabbath, but I did spot a few Mac Sabbath groupies. A strange thing happens when musicians step onto a stage, there is always someone in the crowd who wants to fuck them. A bizarre Pavlovian response, perhaps? But one that musicians will attest to nonetheless. Which led me down the rabbit hole of pondering the pathology behind lusting after demented, fast-food icons. Given there was a girl at the front of the stage, wearing a McDonald’s® bag on her head whilst fellating a burger, I decided this was a question best left unanswered.
The mythos of the band is well crafted, and their spokesperson and manager, Mike Odd, is apt at spreading their message. According to Odd’s various press releases, “Ronald Osbourne came through a trans-dimensional portal with his bandmates to bring Mac Sabbath to a hungry world.” Odd claims to have discovered Mac Sabbath in the basement of a burger joint in Chatsworth, California. It is appropriate for a mutated strain of metal to ooze forth from the dank, GMO-tainted recesses of the Porn Capital of the World.
You might expect this parody act to remain an obscure, So Cal secret, but their message has gone viral. Black Sabbath posted one of their videos to its website; the band travelled across the pond to take the stage at the Download Festival; performing with the likes of Motley Crüe, KISS, Slipknot and Judas Priest; they’ve also made the cover of Kerrang! magazine.
One cannot simply ignore Mac Sabbath. Their brand is solid and their business plan is clear: “The band is planning on world domination. You gotta realize I’m dealing with a disturbed clown that believes he teleported here from the 1970s to save us all from the current state of sustenance in music. Ronald wants to get us back to when music and food were real. Ronald’s a visionary. And you know how those visionaries can be. He has fun making me the conduit between fantasy and reality. It’s totally worth it.” Odd has asserted.
Yet the band cannot make any references to the fast-food conglomerate that they mock. Apparently Black Sabbath is cool with the parody, but the evil, corporate empire behind the mass produced food products poisoning millions globally is not.
Mac Sabbath’s set is tight. I imagine most musicians know a few classic Sabbath tunes, so perhaps this is just an extension of a youth spent emulating rock gods. And the anonymity of it all means we can never know if every incantation of Mac Sabbath is the exact same lineup. And does it even matter? Mac Sabbath doesn’t appear to clamor for fame and fortune. Or maybe they do.
Maybe they’ve ingeniously packaged an important message in a communal, childhood memory, shoved it through a post-apocalyptic drive-thru, and are serving it up to happy audiences? The state of industrial farming and the polluted, global food chain are topics the masses should concern themselves with. But it’s not Kardashian-related fodder. And it’s not necessarily content that the average Buzzfeed® or HuffPost® aficionado would give more than one click to. Or maybe they would.
I will admit that I went to the show for the merchandise. But after seeing my son proudly wearing his Mac Sabbath shirt as he ate his breakfast of uncured bacon, organic eggs, and homemade, whole wheat bread, I realized there’s a bigger message here. And it’s one we should all heed and spread. Like butter.
I definitely recommend attending a Mac Sabbath show. Online content does not do the spectacle justice. Nor does it support the artists behind the message. And whatever the real message of Mac Sabbath is, I’m Lovin’It® regardless.