Mac Sabbath Gears Up to Headline the Summer's Weirdest Rock Concert
Even over the phone, you can practically hear Mike Odd rubbing his hands together with glee. "We think this could be an amazing, cataclysmic combination," he says, laughing his infectious cackle of a laugh. "If you’ve never seen a yeti rock band, this is the time. This is it."
He's talking about PPL MVR, the power-rock trio of Sasquatch-like creatures, who are one of three highly theatrical opening acts playing the Regent Theater on Friday with Odd's "drive-thru metal" sensation, Mac Sabbath. The bill, which also features horror-punk pioneers Haunted Garage and costumed rockers Radioactive Chicken Heads ("a health food rock band that just happens to be giant chickens and a giant carrot," as Odd describes them), is the biggest hometown gig yet for the fast food–themed Black Sabbath tribute band.
Odd, a veteran of the L.A.'s weirdo rock underground best known as the leader of Rosemary's Billygoat, didn't think, when he began managing Mac Sabbath about two years ago, that it would become his most successful project. But on New Year's Day 2015, Black Sabbath posted a Mac Sabbath video on their official site, and soon the colorful quartet — lead singer Ronald Osborne, guitarist Slayer Mac Cheeze, bassist Grimalice and drummer the Cat Burglar — were the internet's latest viral sensation.
"That was the second strangest day of my life," Odd recalls, again with that cackle. The strangest, of course, was the day in 2013 when Osborne first approached him — at a Chatsworth franchise of "a certain multinational fast-food conglomerate" — and invited him to one of Mac Sabbath's secret shows, which, Odd claims, were taking place in the "bunkerlike basements" of certain fast-food establishments.
Odd also claims that Osborne is not of this world — or at least not of this era. "He’s informed me that he’s teleported here from the 1970s to save us from this current state of food and music," Odd explains, describing the Mac Sabbath frontman as a "time-space continuum–traveling clown." (Osborne and his bandmates never give interviews, preferring to let Odd explain the band to press.)
The band plays exclusively Black Sabbath covers, with titles and lyrics altered to critique the fast-food industry and the processed products it sells. "Iron Man," for example, becomes "Frying Pan," with cautionary verses like, "All our future is pink slime." And on "Pair-a-Buns" (Mac's version of "Paranoid"), Osborne howls, "We found ways to feed cows scraps of other cows."
When asked why Sabbath is the band's preferred vehicle for such dark subject matter, Odd waxes rhapsodic over what is clearly his favorite band of all time. "Black Sabbath invented heavy metal, Black Sabbath invented goth, Black Sabbath invented punk," he insists. "I really don’t think any of these things would be what they are without them. If you look at that time, that was definitely the heaviest, spookiest, scariest, creepiest music that there was.
"I’m only interested in weirdo stuff," he adds, with another laugh, "and if you look at it, it all comes from Black Sabbath."
Being the hottest thing on the internet, even for a few days, has given Mac Sabbath an unusual career trajectory. "The band had not left California before we went to England and toured and played a festival with Mötley Crüe and KISS and Judas Priest and Slipknot," Odd marvels. "It was ridiculous."
The metal community has, for the most part, embraced Mac Sabbath ("Anybody who’s into metal who’s not incredibly, overly serious is super-excited about it," says Odd) but their humorous, theatrical approach attracts non–metal fans as well — and even what Odd calls the "internet sensation" crowd, who don't normally attend rock shows.
"You can tell there’s these people there that have never been to a show. And they get all mad. ‘The ticket said 8 o’clock! Why is the band going on at 11? I gotta stand around here for hours?’ Well, yeah. That’s the whole idea. Stand around for hours and buy beer."
But with an opening lineup like Radioactive Chicken Heads, Haunted Garage and PPL MVR, no one is likely to complain.
“A live show is just so important," Odd says, explaining the common thread that unites this otherwise musically eclectic bill. "I think in the modern day something’s getting lost where people think they can experience things through their computers. These are bands that you can absolutely not experience through your computer. This is gonna be so much arena-rock theatrical stage show packed onto one club stage. I literally don’t know where all the stuff is gonna go.”
Mac Sabbath will be at the Regent Theater on Friday, Aug. 5, with PPL MVR, Haunted Garage and Radioactive Chicken Heads.
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