Run away, kiddies, from the playground "Drive-Thru Metal" mayhem of the Mighty Mac Sabbath! Members Slayer MacCheeze, Ronald Osbourne, the Catburgler, and Grimalice.Photo by Paul Koudounaris/Courtesy of Adrenaline PR
This is Texas, where we take our beef seriously. After all, we are residents of the state where Oprah Winfrey was sued by an Amarillo cattleman for disparaging the food on her talk show. Remember, this actually went to trial in 1998. Winfrey and her guest were ultimately found not guilty of violating the state’s False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act of 1995 and any accompanying libel.
So it’s reasonable to wonder…will there be a picket line of cowboy-hatted, meat lovin’ good ol’ boys outside of the upcoming Mac Sabbath show on August 10 at the Scout Bar? Band manager Mike Odd – who had not heard of the Oprah case before - certainly hopes so.
“Whaaaat? That’s hilarious! I hope they do it!” he laughs – which he does frequently during the interview. “That’s very exciting. Somebody should send them an anonymous note!”
If greasy fast food gives you nightmares...you might be seeing these guys in the middle of the night.
Photo by Jeremy Saffer/Courtesy of Adrenaline PR
In a nutshell, Mac Sabbath is this: a quartet that takes the music of Black Sabbath songs and rewrites the lyrics to reflect topics of and opinions about fast food. Thus, “Iron Man” becomes “Frying Pan,” “Sweet Leaf” is recast as “Sweet Beef,” and “Paranoid” morphs into “Pair-a-Buns.”
The members (who insist that manager Odd handle all interviews) – are Ronald Osbourne (vocals), Slayer MacCheeze (guitar), Grimalice (bass) and the Catburgler - aka Peter “Criss Cut” Fries (drums).
They also have an, um, look that could bring to mind some characters from restaurant-related pop culture (use of a certain “M” word is verboten in discussions with Odd). And though the song titles may at first seem like they’re a tribute to fast food and its culture, the lyrics are – as Odd notes – “quite the opposite.”
“They are trying to get everybody to not get suckered in by convenience and realize what you’re eating and being poisoned by these multi-national conglomerates that are in bed with the government,” Odd says. “There’s one chemical he mentions in a song that’s like a 17-syllable word that they put into the buns in all fast food restaurants in the U.S. And it’s illegal in every other country because it’s considered poison!”
Odd makes frequent mention of an on-the-edge relationship with the band’s front man Ronald, calling him a “crazed clown” who might beat him for revealing anything new about the upcoming tour. He also says that characterizing it as a love/hate relationship would be “putting it lightly.”
“But I have a career because of this. I’ve gone all over the country! And the world! I’ve been part of a festival with Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest and KISS!” he says. Mac Sabbath even has a slot on the upcoming Monsters of Rock Cruise, on the bill with acts like Krokus, Tesla, Extreme, Winger, and Faster Pussycat.
Still, it’s part of his continuing managerial duties to calm the homicidal, flame-haired, yellow-suited singer when he gets on a rant about rival bands in the genre that Osbourne has dubbed “Drive-Thru Metal.”
“He thinks that these other groups are taking food from his mouth!” Odd says, sounding a bit exasperated. “He’s got to chase down Burger King Diamond and Cinnabon Jovi or KFC/DC or Wen-Dio! He does have delusions of grandeur! He’ll scream at me about them! And if he thinks you’re lying, he’ll accuse you of telling him a whopper!”
One bright spot for the group was the chance to perform for and meet actual Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy’s son, Jack, had arranged for the band’s surprise appearance as part of the Ozzy & Jack's World Tour travel show the duo has. Though Odd is miffed that Osbourne (Ronald, that is) didn’t include him in the moment.
“I was not there for that. That’s the problem with dealing with a crazed, unpredictable clown. I was upset! I thought it would be good to include me. I wanted to meet Ozzy! But he likes to screw with me,” Odd offers. Though he does point out that as Ronald often garbles his vocals to where the words are sometimes difficult to make out – just like Ozzy’s. So the band did benefit from the use of subtitles on the show.
A story and video of the Osbourne/Osbourne/Osbourne encounter was covered by Rolling Stone. Mac Sabbath’s opener on the current tour is Okilly Dokilly, a metal quartet who all dress as Christian nosy neighbor Ned Flanders from The Simpsons and write “Nedal” songs about the bespectacled character and his world. They take their name from a frequent Flanders phrase. And in fact, Okilly Dokilly just placed one of their own tunes on an actual episode of the animated series. “Both bands are having a media moment!” Odd crows.
Finally, as two members of Mac Sabbath have, um, sizable-sized craniums, the question must be asked: How does Odd as manager handle travel arrangements for the group in vehicles like vans and planes, not known for a lot of extra head space??
“It’s tough to get Grimalice on a plane. Some people complain about having to buy two seats. He has to buy four! And that makes the touring costs skyrocket!” Odd says. “He used to not be able to fit in the van; he’d have to jog along the side. And since Slayer is the guitar player, he’s got a great big head anyway.”
The American Cheese tour featuring Mac Sabbath plays 8 p.m., August 10, at the Scout Bar, 18307 Egret. Okilly Dokilly and Playboy Manbaby open. For information, call 281-335-0002 or visit ScoutBar. Com. $15-$20.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.