They come from an enchanted forest where cheeseburgers grow on trees, milkshakes flow like rivers and french fries blossom in the morning sun. They look like possessed mascots from a demented clown’s playland, destroying the stage much like their musical inspiration, Black Sabbath, did off and on for 50 years.
Performing under the moniker “Mac Sabbath,” the Los Angeles band consists of vocalist Ronald Osbourne, guitarist Slayer McCheeze, bassist Grimalice and drummer Catburglar. They never talk to the media, and their anonymity has only fueled their legend.
It has been said that they’re time travelers from an era when fast food was considered proper nutrition. Since early 2014, they’ve been spreading their message about the horrors of GM burgers found under the golden arches they once called home.
Now they’re bringing their Happy Meal Horror Show to Dallas on Friday, for a night of fast-food enlightenment.
“There’s a lot of secrets with Ronald Osbourne,” says Mac Sabbath manager Mike Odd. “What’s his connection to Black Sabbath?”
A vocalist for the L.A. horror rock band Rosemary’s Billygoat, Odd was working at an oddities shop in L.A. when he received an anonymous phone call from someone who claimed to have an oddity for him and wanted to meet at a fast-food establishment in the San Fernando Valley.
Odd says he thought it was going to be something like the Virgin Mary appearing on a piece of toast. Instead, the oddity was Osbourne himself, in skull-faced clown makeup and a dirty red-and-yellow outfit. He looked like a killer clown from outer space, and reminded Odd of Skeletor from He-man.
The killer clown vomited fast-food conspiracies and asked Odd to manage Mac Sabbath, which sounds like something you’d find on a value menu.
At 3 a.m. in the basement of another fast-food establishment, Odd saw Osbourne again onstage with a wingless Purple People Eater dazed and confused on the bass, a cheeseburger with an underbite slinging a guitar and a cat in a white-and-black burglar outfit destroying the drums.
“I thought it was going to be a secret employee fight club,” Odd says.
Osbourne and his crew were igniting familiar War Pig beats but roaring into the microphone about the dangers of the corporate fast-food industry.
“Pair-a-Buns,” “Sweet Beef,” “Never Say Diet” sound like their musical counterparts — “Paranoid,” “Sweet Leaf” and “Never Say Die” — but their lyrics focus on the negative effects of genetically modified food instead of the gospel, according to Ozzy.
Mac Sabbath had been supposedly playing secret shows in basements of fast-food establishments around California.
Odd was hooked.
“But really, when you boil it down, I think the point to be made is that maybe the '70s is the last time that food was really food,” Odd told the Village Voice in Sept. 2015. “1984 kind of came and went, and Monsanto gained government control, and now we’re all being force-fed poison.”
An agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology company, Monsanto made Agent Orange for the U.S. Military in the late '60s, according to Monsanto’s website. It created a synthetic hormone to increase milk production, which can be found in about a third of dairy cows, according to a 2008 report by The New York Times.
Monsanto also has a line of seed products such as corn and cotton. They’re genetically modified, resistant to certain herbicides and able to thrive in their environments. “Think drought-tolerant corn, or pest-resistant soybeans that need less bug spraying,” according to its website.
In a November 2016 letter to the editor, Robert Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto, told The New York Times that 20 million farmers around the world have been investing in genetically modified seeds for two decades. The American Medical Association, Food and Drug Administration, National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization all review GM crop data and approve its safety for consumption before the GM crops hit the market.
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But once it mixes with high sugar, salt, saturated or trans fats, preservatives and other ingredients, it becomes the Agent Orange of fast food. Or as Medical News Today pointed out in an April 1 article, “There is plenty of well-researched evidence showing that regularly eating fast food can harm a person's health."
Mac Sabbath first took their Happy Meal Horror Show on the road to elementary schools in California and won over parents and staff with their kid-friendly message about healthy food. Then they started performing in the evenings at local clubs. Mac Sabbath will be appearing with six-piece punk outfit Playboy Manbaby and Ned Flanders-inspired band Okilly Dokilly this Friday night at Trees.
Soon Mac Sabbath began touring the world and appearing at festivals such as U.K.’s Download Festival and Outside Lands. In December, they also got to meet their inspiration Ozzy Osbourne and played “I Am Frying Pan” for the Godfather of Metal on an episode of Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour.
“I guess their appeal is something about the combination of Black Sabbath, the particular characters, wicked, psychedelic. … Somehow it works,” Odd says.