As the former manager for an oddities museum in Los Angeles, Mike Odd is no stranger to unique characters. Kinda comes with the territory.
“When you enter that sort of realm, you put yourself in a position where you start hunting down all the weirdest things in the world,” he says. “But once you separate yourself from the norm, that stuff starts hunting you down as well.”
Here begins one of the weirdest tales of Odd’s life — the tale of Mac Sabbath. The quartet dresses up like characters from a certain famous burger chain and puts a fast-food spin on tunes from classic metal outfit Black Sabbath. The band consists of a deranged clown (Ronald Osbourne), bassist (Grimalice), drummer (the Catburglar) and lead guitarist (Slayer MacCheeze). You see where they’re going with this.
Odd caught wind of the band a few years back when he received an anonymous call requesting his presence at an area fast-food joint. Details were vague, but Odd was promised the meeting would “change my life.”
Did it ever. After waiting awhile, and growing frustrated, Odd was about to leave. Almost on cue, an “abomination of a clown” burst through the door with his bandmates in tow and broke into song. The concert was short-lived.
“They got kicked out pretty quick and ended up on the curb,” Odd says. “But after speaking with [Ronald], he simply told me, ‘It’s your destiny to manage this band.’”
Odd was invited back to the same establishment at 3 a.m. the following day. In typical Mac Sabbath fashion, the event was anything but traditional.
“It’s like a secret turnkey type of thing, so I go down to the basement and watch these mutated fast-food mascots play Black Sabbath songs and scream among freeze-dried condiments and burger buns – it was the best and weirdest thing that’s even happened in my life,” Odd says. “It was totally underground, but they asked me to help take it aboveground.”
At this point, I should clarify that the lines of fact and fiction with Mac Sabbath are somewhat blurred, so I’m not entirely sure how much of Odd’s story is factual and how much is simply part of the Mac Sabbath myth. The man speaks with such conviction that he’s either telling the truth or has pulled a George Costanza from Seinfeld and totally bought into his own lie. Either way, Mac Sabbath’s origins are so ludicrous that it almost doesn’t matter.
After the band’s little underground show, Odd began booking real gigs for the band; he once fronted a theatrical costume band of his own and knew the ropes of booking and managing such an absurd outfit. Mac Sabbath experienced a modicum of success over the next couple of years, but as with many bands that blow up, it took a big break to take the quartet to the next level.
Turns out Black Sabbath, or someone involved with the band, were fans of their fast-food counterparts, so much so that the band posted video of Mac Sabbath playing “Frying Pan” – its unique take on Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” The video received more than a million hits and opened numerous commercial doors. The band hadn’t even left California yet, and now they were being offered international festival gigs alongside KISS, Mötley Crüe, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson.
All this from the mind of a deranged clown, one who doesn’t believe in any modern form of technology. Ronald Osbourne doesn’t own a cell phone. He doesn’t use email. He doesn’t market the band on Facebook and Twitter. Dude doesn’t even travel with the band. Rather, he just sorta pops up in time for every tour stop.
So, I have to ask at this point – is the man mentally ill?
“That’s a really good question,” Odd says with a cackle. “He’s making me not okay, that’s for sure.”
But why Black Sabbath?
“That band means so much to the counterculture community,” Odd said. “Black Sabbath influenced everything we hold near and dear. It really influenced all the fun weirdo stuff that all us fun weirdo people like. That’s our lifeblood. And believe me, if I wasn’t passionate about it, I would not deal with this clown.”
Considering the band has embarked on a nationwide tour, and has potential plans to record new studio material (it has never done so), it’s a safe bet that Odd will continue dealing with the demented clown for the foreseeable future.
But will the band ever have to deal with a certain worldwide burger chain that may not take kindly to Mac Sabbath using its likeness?
“So far,” Odd laughs, “everyone seems to be all right with everything, as far as I can tell.”
Mac Sabbath brings its (Bat) Burgers and Boos tour to White Oak Music Hall’s downstairs room Saturday, October 22 with special guests Commie Hilfiger and the Satanic Overlords of Rock N Roll. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.