For Mac Sabbath manager Mike Odd, it all started with a mysterious invitation.
The musician (Rosemary’s Billygoat), horror movie aficionado, and purveyor of high weirdness is used to strange phone calls, but not quite like the one he received instructing him to meet up at a Chatsworth, California burger joint in 2014.
“Usually it’s someone saying ‘come out to my shed, I’ll show you my two-headed otter skeleton,’” Odd relates between stops on the band’s trip from San Diego to San Francisco. “This one wasn’t all that shocking or weird, but I was told that it will change your life. I thought I’d go down there and there’d be a Virgin Mary burned onto a hamburger bun or something, but instead I was assailed by this tornado of red and yellow, a crazy clown with skeleton makeup who just kept spewing these concepts of time and space all over everyone’s lunch.”
That “crazy clown” revealed himself to be one Ronald Osborne, a demented and savage version of a very familiar fast food icon. Odd claims that Osborne got them both kicked out of the restaurant, only for Osborne to demand that Odd come back past 3 a.m. When Odd returned, he discovered Osborne and his band Mac Sabbath (guitarist Slayer MacCheeze; bassist Grimalice; drummer Catburglar, who sometimes performs under the alias of Peter Criss Cut Fries) playing in a basement bomb shelter under the burger joint, performing note perfect versions of Black Sabbath songs but with the lyrics changed to fast food concerns; i.e., Frying Pan (Iron Man), Sweet Beef (Sweet Leaf), and Pair-a-Buns (Paranoid.)
You can choose to believe Odd’s description of how he came to be involved with Mac Sabbath or not (there are some out there who think he’s directly involved with the band), but it’s more fun than reading about how Fleetwood Mac were formed. The members labour in anonymity at their task, with Odd positing them as a brotherhood intent on warning the world at large about the dangers of fake food and fake music. We spoke with Odd about the Mac Sabbath message, the dangers of Monsanto, and the burgeoning genre of drive-thru metal.
Q: Why do you think it was that Ronald wanted you to manage Mac Sabbath?
A: He informed me it was my destiny. I was told that I had to manage the band and take them above ground, because they were doing these secret basement shows in restaurant basements for employees and friends of employees. I was so confused by everything, but I guess they’d seen something in the newspaper I’d said about how important Black Sabbath was, and how they’d created everything that’s cool in music for all the weirdos. Not just metal, but punk and goth counterculture.
Q: What’s your relationship with Ronald?
A: Very strange. He’s quite anonymous, I don’t know who he is or where he goes. He doesn’t travel with the band, and he claims to move through the space-time continuum. He says that he mostly lives in the ’70s, and he doesn’t respond well to modern technology. If you mention MP3s he’ll get frustrated and angry, and you might get a pie in the face or seltzer water in your camera. That being said, he told me that this would change my life, and he was right.
Q: Ronald sounds like less of a front person and more of a prophet.
A: He’s really worried about this time in history. He’s comfortable in his own time, so he wants to bring everyone back to when music and food were still real; that’s why the band rails so much against GMOs and Monsanto.
Q: Does the band have any adversaries in the world of fast food mascots?
A: Oh, yeah. His whole thing is he coined the term ‘drive-thru metal’ and he always complains about these other ‘drive-thru metal’ bands trying to take the food out of his mouth. Like Dairy Queensryche, Burger King Diamond and Cinnabon Jovi. I wrote this off to delusion and then I actually saw Burger King Diamond show up as an opening act. Ronald will often get mad as hell at me and accuse me of being in on it.
Q: Unlike the beloved and friendly fast food clown that he resembles, Ronald Osborne sounds frightening and unstable.
A: No, no; he’s got a positive message for the world, and this is a family-friendly experience. No four letter words are allowed, and I’ve been chastised for swearing. Matter of fact, I once booked the band at an elementary school birthday party, where they performed for toddlers. There wasn’t any swearing, or references to sex and drugs, and the only thing that might have upset the kids were his descriptions of the horrors of the meat industry. Ronald probably thinks that the earlier you hear about these things, the better.
Q: Has Black Sabbath themselves weighed in on the band?
A: Recently there was a picture that surfaced showing Ozzy with the band. I have no idea how that happened, or when. I’ve asked Ronald about it and he only laughs and changes the subject. I can only guess that he’s connected in ways I really can’t understand. After all these years he’s still a mystery to me!
With: Frank & Deans
When: Thursday at 8 p.m.
Where: Starlite Room, 10030 102 St.
Tickets: $18, available at the door or in advance from Ticketfly
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