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Mac Sabbath: ‘Drive-Thru’ Metal At The Ritz

In Music
ROCK & ROLL CLOWN: Rock & Roll Clown  Ronald Osborne, frontman for McDonald's-themed Black Sabbath cover band, Mac Sabbath.

ROCK & ROLL CLOWN: Rock & Roll Clown Ronald Osborne, frontman for McDonald's-themed Black Sabbath cover band, Mac Sabbath.

If we are to believe Mike Odd, there aren’t many who know the true identity of Ronald Osborne, frontman for the L.A.-based, McDonald’s-themed Black Sabbath cover band, Mac Sabbath.

Odd, the leader of weirdo-rock outfit Rosemary’s Billygoat, moonlights as Mac Sabbath’s manager and sole spokesperson—a role he says he was unwittingly lured into when an anonymous tipster convinced him to go grab lunch at a Chatsworth “franchise of a certain multinational fast food conglomerate, which shall remain nameless.”

For legal reasons, Odd explains, he never uses “the M-word.”

It was there, whilst “devouring a cheeseburger,” that he was approached by a “crazed looking clown.”

That clown was Osborne—who leads Mac Sabbath dressed like a demonic Ronald McDonald, replete with a fiery red wig, red-and-yellow jumpsuit, and shiny, oversized shoes. Instead of wearing a permanent red-and-white smile on his face, Osborne’s mug is made up to resemble a crimson, chalky skull.

His backing band is no less committed. Mac Sabbath’s guitarist, Slayer McCheese, wears a giant, foam cheeseburger on his head, with two eyes, a nose, and a pair of massive tusks jutting from the bottom bun. Grimalice, the group’s bassist, resembles a deranged Grimace, with tweaked-out eyes, a skullet hairdo and a floppy tongue. The Slamburglar keeps time, in his flat-brimmed fedora, black-and-white striped shirt, and Zorro-esque mask and cape.

The band’s songs feature arrangements that directly correspond to Black Sabbath hits, only with satirical lyrics, which take aim at the fast food industry. In “Frying Pan,” a play on Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” Osborne sings, “Cows we’re going to grind/Hope your stomach is well lined/Do I have the gall/Chopping onions makes me ball.”

During their first meeting, Osborne invited Odd to see Mac Sabbath perform—reportedly in the basement of a Southern California fast food restaurant. From there, much like many a fast food customer, Odd says he was hooked. He agreed to represent the band.

That was sometime in 2013, Odd says. Since then, his life has gotten exponentially weirder.

According to Odd, Osborne only meets with him in full costume, and has steadfastly maintained that he arrived in the present day through a wormhole, which transported him from the year 1970. “He meets me in weird locations, with weird secret messages delivered,” Odd says. “I’ve been drawn into something. It’s really hard to explain, frankly.”

Indeed, over the course of our conversation Odd frequently breaks into laughter. He seems both genuinely amused and confused by the band he represents. If it’s all an act (he flatly denies rumors that he and Osborne are one and the same) his incredulous tone and fits of nervous chortling have me fooled.

Some have also speculated that Osborne’s is actually Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys. However, despite Mac Sabbath’s growing profile—they’ve been featured in plenty of music blogs, on Fox News, and even had one of their music videos shared on Black Sabbath’s official Facebook page—no one has yet been able to conclusively disprove Osborne’s wormhole origin story.

Perhaps it’s better that way. Consider professional wrestling—or bizarro hip-hop artist RiFF RAFF, the Joaquin Phoenix’s mockumentary, <i>I’m Still Here</i>, or Andy Kaufman, who to this day has people believing he faked his death. When a performance artist is that committed to his or her act, does it really matter what the truth is?

Osborne is nothing if not committed to his character. He calls Mac Sabbath’s music “drive thru metal,” and claims there are many other artists who are attempting to rip him off: “Burger King Diamond is his nemesis,” Odd says, before rattling off a slew of other names, including “Chick Filet-C/DC,” “Dokken Donuts,” “Twisted Sizzler” and “Iron Mai-Denny’s”—none of which seem to be real.

“I don’t think that much that goes on in his mind is real,” Odd says, laughing again. He’ll get really angry when you start talking about cell phones or the Internet. He’ll get upset and you might get a chocolate shake in your face.”

Odd says Osborne’s antics can make it difficult for him to do his job. “I mean, trying to figure out exactly what’s going on and what I’m supposed to be saying to you guys (the press)—it’s all vague and very strange.”

Nonetheless, it works, Odd says. And furthermore, “It’s fun.”

Mac Sabbath play The Ritz on Friday, Aug. 7, at 8pm. More info.

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