As an L.A. Weekly cover feature earlier this year revealed, the cottage industry of tribute bands is big business in the local music scene. Any new tribute band coming down the line faces a horde of musicians who've already traveled the well-worn path of mining the past for musical inspiration. One legendary band that has had many tribute bands come and go in its wake is Black Sabbath, the forefathers of the heavy metal genre.
The act that has stood out the most in recent years — within both the Los Angeles tribute band scene and the worldwide sea of Sabbath worshipers — has been Mac Sabbath. Eschewing the more traditional path of straight-up worship, the quartet instead adopts the guises of surreal, McDonald's-inspired characters who turn Sabbath into a satirical critique of the fast food industry. These characters — vocalist Ronald Osborne, guitarist Slayer Mac Cheeze, bassist Grimalice and drummer The Cat Burglar — perform live in grotesque costumes while turning original Sabbath classics such as “Supernaut” and “Paranoid” into burger-and-fries metallic anthems like “Supersize” and “Pair-a-Buns.”
Acts that go the high-concept route toward tribut- band stardom run the risk of being dismissed as mere novelty. Mac Sabbath have successfully avoided that trap so far by delivering live shows that adeptly balance the heaviness of the original source material with the infectious sense of fun and showmanship inherent in the personas all band members have adopted.
Today, L.A. Weekly is proud to premiere a sampling of what Mac Sabbath's musical dollar menu has to offer in the live setting. The below video for “Sweet Beef” — an homage to Black Sabbath's “Sweet Leaf” — was filmed during a recent performance at the Regent Theater in DTLA. To add an extra layer of surrealness to the imagery of deformed fast-food mascots performing heavy metal, the clip was shot and edited to be viewed in 360 VR, either from your desktop (using the controller in the upper-left corner of the screen), on your mobile device or, for maximum eyeball gluttony, via a VR viewer such as Google Cardboard. All viewing experiences allow you to move the camera around should you want to get a closer look at the riffs being cranked out by Slayer Mac Cheeze, or provide yourself some nightmare fuel by focusing on Grimalice rocking out on bass.
Want to supersize your Mac Sabbath intake? You can also check out 360 VR performances of “Chicken for the Slaves” (a reworking of “Children of the Grave”) and “More Ribs” (a reimagining of “War Pigs”).