Mac Sabbath: Pittsburgh’s Lovin’ It

I must admit, I was skeptical.  I mean, “Drive Thru Metal?”  What about this would work.  A Black Sabbath parody band, appropriately titled Mac Sabbath, almost seemed like an insult to the original band.  I realized, though, that I had nothing to base my opinion on.  Maybe they would be the greatest group to ever enter the Rex Theater.  Parodies are incredible, and this parody group was fully themed down to the paper cup and straw that was their mic stand.  That being said, I loaded my camera, and I enter the Rex Thursday night with an open mind.

I entered the room.  It was poorly lit.  I saw a few dozen balloons scattered across the floor, the small amount of light coming from the stage glistening off of the shiny, inflated rubber balls.  I waited around and readied myself for the first band, Super Fun Time Awesome Party Band, was a bit disappointing.  While they had a stage presence that could captivate an audience, and their light show was great for an opening act.  The quality of the sound they produced was sub-par. Their show was lively, but I was hoping the next band would raise my expectations for the night.

Opener number 2, Only Flesh, was very attention-grabbing.  Classifying themselves, according to their Facebook page, as Glam, Rock, metal, Punk, and Industrial music.  Their set included some theatrics such as sparking bracelets and hooks through necks (yes, you read that right).  Overall, I was satisfied with the performance.  They had a sound that fit them, and the set left me feeling excited for what was next.  Although what was next had me a little nervous.

The following act went by the name Clownvis.  He was in the spotlight a few years back for some inappropriate insults thrown at the judges of America’s Got Talent.  I was concerned, after watching that video on YouTube, that a not-so-nice personality was about to shine through on stage.  Clownvis was actually one of the funniest clowns I have seen to date.  He sang along to classics, such as the Cheers theme song and America the Beautiful, as well as some originals like Barrack-O’s Taco’s.  He even did magic!  He left the stage with a large round of applause, and all that was left was the headliner, Mac Sabbath.

I stood there, waiting patiently as a tarp went up in front of the stage.  The only hints of life behind it were the sound check echoing from the speakers and an ominous shadow with crazy hair occasionally sliding back and forth.  Half an hour went by, and fans were getting restless – and drunk, very, very drunk.  Finally, the music began.  The tarp fell, revealing a cat man, a burger with horns, and drunk, high, and slightly demented form of McDonald’s former icon, Grimace.   As the music played, a clown appeared in a yellow straight jacket.  He wrestled around, breaking free and cackling as if Ozzy Osbourne himself had entered his body.  They began playing songs such as More Ribs, Chicken for the Slaves, Organic Funeral, and Frying Pan.  Throughout the show, theatrics were present.  Confetti flew out of a vomit bucket, water hit the crowd from a ketchup bottle, and lead singer Ronal Osbourne danced around the stage with a straw.  The show ended with the Iron Man parody, Frying Pan followed by a “Mac Flag” song, Pair-a-buns.

Overall, the show, full of great music, gore, theatrics, and maniacal laughter, left me satisfied and glad I came.  I will definitely be looking into more parody bands like Mac Sabbath.

Review and pix: Stephanie Connell © 2016

 

MAC SABBATH @REXTHEATER SEPT 1

*Mixing raucous comedy with borderline-horrific theatrics, the only thing more petrifying than impending health problems resulting from years of overeating is a MAC SABBATH show. Set wise, this ain’t no value meal – innocent bystanders can enjoy 10 fantastically alarming Black Sabbath-turned-junk food themed tunes on this tour: More Ribs; Chicken For The Slaves; Sweet Beef; Brand of Doom; N.I.B.B.L.E.; Lord of the Swirled; Zippin Up the Uniform; Frying Pan; Cherries Are Fruits; Pair-A-Buns.
*Show attendees should be prepared to partake in the fun – MAC SABBATH puts on a theatrical, multimedia stage show – complete with a smoking grill, laser-eyed clowns, bouncing burgers and many more magical surprises… basically anything and everything an unwary show-goer could ever want in their wildest dreams.

MAC SABBATH BIOGRAPHY

 

It was the Year of Our Lord 2013, and I was devouring a cheeseburger in a Chatsworth, California, franchise of a certain multinational fast food conglomerate, which shall remain nameless. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a crazed looking clown walking in my direction. Wearing a costume of bright yellow and red, and giant shiny shoes, he seemingly fit into the surroundings, but it didn’t take long to see that something wasn’t quite right. His costume was trailed by long, tattered, hippie fringe that was dirty from scraping the floor (and most likely the alley behind the restaurant), and more alarmingly his face was caked in ghostly make up that looked like it had been smeared on with a putty knife. My first thought was that he looked like Skeletor as a member of Uriah Heap. Taking a seat in my booth, he informed me that his name was Ronald Osborne, and he that he was familiar with my oddity rock band Rosemary’s Billygoat. He was a fan of the band, and said he had a concept I might appreciate, something he termed “drive-thru metal.” Some of the delinquent kids who worked for the franchise had been allowing him and a cast of characters named Slayer Mac Cheeze, Grimalice, and the Cat Burglar, to perform secret rock shows in the bunker-like basements of the local restaurants. But the time had come, he said, to bring drive-thru metal up from the “underground,” and he asked if I would consider becoming the manager of his band. I asked him what the act was called, and proclaimed with pride, “MAC SABBATH!” I barely had time to gather up what was left of my faux food before the restaurant’s manager, apparently annoyed both by the disheveled clown and the content of our conversation, came over and forcefully assisted us out onto the street. As we hit the sidewalk, I looked over at Ronald, watched him brush the dust of cold fries, sodium chloride and GMO remnants of my UN happy meal from his grease-smeared clown suit, and couldn’t help but think there was something special, perhaps even great, about the man.

 

He invited me to one of these secret shows, and two nights later I was sitting in the basement of a fast food restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, my eyes and taste buds tingling to a new sensation. Drive-thru metal was real, and talk about a feast for the senses! Black Sabbath’s music, hilarious fast food lyrics, smoldering clown heads with laser eyes, a giant purple gumdrop bass player, and Tony Iommi with a giant cheeseburger head. I was confused, amazed, and dare I say it, can’t ever remember feeling so………happy! I told Ronald that yes; I would love to manage his band. It wasn’t going to be easy—nothing ever is with a disturbed clown and a band of Monsanto mutants who refuse to reveal their identities because they think they came here from a wormhole in time direct from 1970. But whoever they are and however they got here, they’re here now and they’re ready, so pull up to the window and check your order, because I am proud to present the world’s newest concept in entertainment, the culinary disgrace that is MAC SABBATH!

Zakk Wylde’s Book of Shadows II Tour packs a powerful punch in Pittsburgh

July 18, 2016 Millvale, PA-  In the sleepy quaint town of Millvale  just five minutes from downtown Pittsburgh there is a sacred rock n’ roll institution known as Mr. Smalls Funhouse.  A former church and now one of Pittsburgh’s finest establishments to see a great show, as well as grab excellent beers and grub, Mr. Smalls this night hosted rock royalty in the name of Zakk Wylde.  Former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, leader of Black Label Society, and all around badass, Wylde brought a slew of guitar gunslingers to blow our minds and brighten our hearts last Monday.

Opening acts Jared James Nichols and Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown were frighteningly good.  Nichols brand of guitar playing is very much in line with Wylde’s solo work, bluesy Allman Brothers type rock n’ roll.  He absolutely blazes and has great emotion behind every string played.  His band’s work is really blood pumping, fist pounding classic style rock that made them a surprise favorite for many.  Even the cover of Nugent’s “Stranglehold” brought chills and made your hair on your arms stand on end for it’s beautiful and true interpretation.  This three piece (Erik Sandin, Dennis Holm) out of Wisconsin must be on your radar if you love a great bluesman who truly has the touch.  Check them out…www.youtube.com/jjnicholsmusic
www.reverbnation.com/jaredjamesnichols.

Tyler Bryant and his bandmates The Shakedown have been tearing up the road and this is by no means their first stop in Pittsburgh.  Bryant has been recognized as a child prodigy guitar player by many, including God himself, Eric Clapton.  Bryant has the soul of an old blues master and his style shows it.  Staking his rep by moving to Nashville at 17, Bryant has put together a tight and impressive band to match.  Shakedown  members Caleb Crosby, Graham Whitford (Brad Whitford of Aerosmith’s son), and Noah Denney complement Bryant’s guitar like icing on cake.  If you have not discovered these guys yet, you owe it to yourself to witness one of the best blues players around…www.tylerbryantandtheshakedown.com.

You know you are confident in your playing when you let two young guitar blazers open for you.  Zakk Wylde is no stranger to the spotlight but prefers to do his talking through pickups, strings, and wood.  Touring his Book of Shadows II effort, Wylde is accompanied for the most part by his regular band, Black Label Society.  But don’t expect to hear Ozzy or Sabbath covers (although a bit of “The Wizard” on mouth harp was pretty awesome) or a bunch of BLS tunes.  This is the other side of Zakk, the side that has been influenced by blues and southern rock.

The ten-minute opener of “Sold My Soul” was enough to make anyone’s jaw drop as he soared up and down his fretboard with wild abandon.  The crowd was absolutely wowed and entertained from the first note.  Wylde does not spend a bunch of time on stage banter, instead, he keeps the rock rolling as he went into, “Autumn Changes”, “Tears of December”, and “Lay Me Down”.  Wylde and his band just kept pouring out their souls tune after tune, playing like they were in front of 50,000 instead of hundreds.  The well packed Mr. Smalls ate up each moment, sang along and played air guitar.  “Road Back Home”, “Yesteday’s Tears”, “Heaven and Hell” (with the aforementioned “The Wizard” as an intro.), and “Darkest Hour” rounded out the first half of the show (see the entire guest list in pictures below).

To have a fairly intimate setting with Wylde playing his solo material was an amazing treat that does not come around often.  It was fun to see him play piano as well as his trusted axe and sing a bit differently than the more metal oriented BLS.  Zakk will return in October with his new fun project Zakk Sabbath when they open for Clutch at Stage AE Oct. 1.  And the hits just keep on coming…

All photos 2016 AWELDINGPHOTO

 

Black Sabbath Reveal “13″ Album Art And New Song Snippet

Black-Sabbath-13-album-art-604x569

 

Black Sabbath just released a video unveiling their cover artwork and a song snippet from their upcoming album,13. This is the first Sabbath album to feature Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and 2013 Revolver Golden Gods Award Riff Lord recipient, Tony Iommi, in 35 years.

The album will be released June 11, 2013.

Listen to a snippet of 13 now, and check out Revolver’s in-studio sneak preview here.

BLACK SABBATH UNVEIL RELEASE DATE OF UPCOMING ALBUM ’13′ + NEW STUDIO FOOTAGE

by Graham ‘Gruhamed’ Hartmann March 13, 2013 12:33 PM  At Loudwire.com

Black Sabbath‘s upcoming album ’13′ has finally been given a solid release date! The highly anticipated record will be unleashed on June 11. Sabbath have also launched a pre-order campaign for ’13,’ offering everything from a simple CD to a ‘Super Deluxe Box Set.’

’13′ was originally meant to feature the classic lineup of Black Sabbath (Ozzy OsbourneTony Iommi,Geezer Butler and Bill Ward), but due to a contract squabble involving Ward, the iconic drummer dropped outof the Sabbath reunion. In his place, Rage Against the Machine stickman Brad Wilk manned the skins on the forthcoming album.

Guitarist Tony Iommi’s cancer diagnosis also threw a wrench in the works for Black Sabbath’s 2012 world tour plans, but the master of the riff heroically pressed on, constantly writing and recording new material throughout his ongoing recovery process. Thankfully, any doubts harbored by Sabbath fans have been squashed now that ’13′ has an official release date of June 11.

As a Black Sabbath fanatic down to your bones, you may have trouble deciding which pre-order offer to dedicate your money towards, but fear not, here’s a breakdown of the goodies Sabbath have made available. If just pre-ordering a CD isn’t enough for your Sabbath fix, the band is also offering a double CD in a deluxe soft pack, which contains an extra album of exclusive bonus audio. ’13′ will also be printed on 12″ heavyweight (180g) vinyl in a gatefold sleeve.

Finally, for the hardcore fans, there’s the Super Deluxe Box Set containing the double CD and vinyl pressings of ’13,’ along with an exclusive DVD of the documentary ‘Black Sabbath – The Re-union,’ plus five behind-the-scenes videos, a download card containing exclusive track-by-track interviews with the band, 13 exclusive photographic prints and hand-written album lyrics by members of the band.

Black Sabbath have also unveiled a new three-minute video of producer Rick Rubin in the studio with Sabbath. In the clip, Rubin directs Black Sabbath through recording their new material, which is showcased in bits and pieces throughout the video. Although we only get a few seconds to peek into what has become ’13,’ the sound presented is quintessentially Black Sabbath.

Check out Black Sabbath’s new studio footage in the player below, and to pre-order ’13,’ head on over to Sabbath’s official website.

 

Black Sabbath Tracking Guitars…Good News for Iommi

Check out Black Sabbath’s FaceBook today…all indications are that Tony Iommi is on the mend and the meat and potatoes of the new ‘Sab is off and running. With Rick Rubin as producer, PMM expects the new stuff to be reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath, as Rubin has quite the knack for getting the best sounds out of the bands that he works with.

Black Sabbath Teams Up with Bravado for New Merch


One of the most iconic rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath, has signed with world’s leading music merchandising company, Bravado, a division of Universal Music Group. The announcement was made by Tom Bennett, CEO, Bravado.
Black Sabbath, consisting of the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, are one of the most influential bands of all time. Their albums, including the quadruple platinum Paranoid, released in 1970, helped define the genre of hard rock. Frequently cited as one of the greatest hard rock and metal bands of all time, Black Sabbath has sold 70 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
Bravado will commemorate the launch of the Black Sabbath collection with contests held in the USA, UK and Germany for fans and budding t-shirt designers to create their own Black Sabbath inspired merchandise. In the USA, Hot Topic will sponsor a “Design your own Black Sabbath T-shirt” and in the UK, HMV will sponsor the same, with one lucky winner having his/her creation sold exclusively at that store. The winning designer will also receive a lithograph signed by the members of Black Sabbath. In Germany, the leading mail order company EMP, with sponsor the contest, with the winning design sold exclusively in their catalog and online.
“Bravado is dedicated to working with the most talented and most popular artists of our time,” stated Mr. Bennett. “To many, Black Sabbath transcend their music. They not only created a genre, but they then elevated it to have a place in pop culture. I can’t wait to see what kind of products they will create with us.”
In June, 2012 Black Sabbath will co-headline the Download Music Festival, a three day rock music festival held annually at Donnington Park, England and then perform in August at the Lollapalooza Festival in the Chicago, Illinois area.

Black Sabbath- Bill Ward=Major Disappointment


Bill Ward, original drummer from Black Sabbath, recently posted a letter on his website discussing his regrets with what will now be a record and tour without his presence. Having seen Sabbath with and without Ward, I would have to say this is a major disappointment- enough so that purchasing a ticket or the CD will only be done with trepidation. Ward is a drummer with a very personal style and a key element to Black Sabbath’s best recordings. Check out this video of Sabbath in Paris 1970. I think this proves my point.
Here is Bill’s letter from his website:
“Dear Sabbath Fans and Fellow Musicians,

“I sincerely regret to inform you that after a final effort to participate in the upcoming Sabbath shows a failure to agree has continued. At this time I have to inform you that I won’t be playing with Black Sabbath at the Birmingham gig dated May 19th, 2012, nor will I be playing at Download on June 10th, 2012. Further, I will not be playing at Lollapalooza on August 3, 2012.

“It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band, and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this. This statement is even more painstaking to write, as I was particularly excited to play alongside Tony Iommi after the recent treatments he underwent. I wanted that to become a reality.

“To express my thoughts about you, the Sabbath fans, I’m going to speak to you all through an experience my brother James had recently. My brother Jimmy lives in the U.K. When speaking with him a couple of days ago, he told me that an acquaintance had stopped him on the street and confronted him, ‘is your brother playing Birmingham? What’s going on? I waited in line with my son and paid x amount for the concert tickets.’

“The man’s son is a young drummer. He’s going to see Sabbath, and he wants to see Bill Ward play drums. Upon hearing this news, I felt horrible. I couldn’t help feeling some resentment towards the failure to reach an agreement, the failure to remember where we came from, the failure to be as brothers, as we once were. To be clear, I’m not blaming the other guys or finding any faults with them. I would think it can’t be easy for them either, but this situation is just really sad. It’s sad that it’s come to this. ‘This’” will surely leave a mark and be unwelcome to the memory. Hopefully ‘this’ will heal and pass in time.

“My heart sank when Jimmy told me about this young boy. I know this boy is going to be disappointed, and I don’t know how to amend it, other than to put my arms around the boy and tell him I love him. Sabbath fans have a voice and a face, to me you’re human, you have families and despair. You have ferocity and emotions and graciousness, and at this moment as far as I’m concerned you are also that young boy in England. I don’t know how to amend my part in these failings other than to put my arms around you and say I love you and let you know I’m very, very sorry.

“Throughout this process, which began over a year ago, I have had to stand up for myself time and time again. I have had to stand up for myself and in doing so realize my actions indirectly, although unintentionally, are upsetting and hurting a lot of you. I know in my heart I couldn’t have done these concerts by agreeing the terms suggested. I made a solemn vow after the last European and Ozzfest concerts that I would never again enter into what was, in my opinion, a totally unsatisfactory contract. I have to stand for something, and as painful as it is, I’m doing it.

“Earlier in April 2012, I’d been asked to participate ‘minimally’ in the Download festival. I believe I’d been offered no more than three songs to play while another drummer presumably played the rest of the show with Black Sabbath. I was not willing to participate in that offer. I was not prepared to watch another drummer play a Sabbath set, while I was to play only three songs.

“I found out about the Birmingham gig on Monday, April 30 through the Internet ad. I was taken aback somewhat by the date, and the fact it was Birmingham. Knowing the “signable” contract negotiations were at best in shreds, I was upset by the idea that the band was going to play Birmingham and play it assumedly without me. I had no prior knowledge of the date and location, and I felt totally excluded. We contacted the representative for Black Sabbath to see if something could be worked out. In the meantime my drum crew and I, along with our US endorsers, finished all the necessary planning for a swift departure to the UK. There wasn’t a whole lot to complete; we’d all been on standby more or less since mid-January 2012. The remaining work in the UK was confirmed done by our European and UK endorsers and we were good to go by Friday, May 4 2012. There were two stress points: firstly, getting an agreement in place, and secondly, getting to England in a timely manner. Jetlag time was taken into account as well as drum practice, a drum practice room in the heart of Birmingham, accommodation, and travel arrangements were all in place to meet with any band rehearsals that may have transpired before the Birmingham show. So far everything that had been arranged was on my dime, but we didn’t move ahead without a realistic confirmation.

“Communications between the representative and my lawyer continued through the weekend of May 5 finalizing on Wednesday, May 9. The offer we received on May 9 was, ‘come to the UK, play for free and see how the first show goes.’ I was tempted. Playing for free would not have been a problem for me, but “seeing how the first show goes” left an element of risk which could have affected Download. My ideal thought was to play in full the Birmingham show, in full Download, and in full Lollapalooza.

“I had notified the representative that May 10 was my cutoff day in order to have good lead-in time for England. On the night of May 9 I asked for a brief letter to be sent to the representative asking to find out if we were at an end. On the morning of Thursday, May 10, I received a reply in the affirmative. After consulting with my advisors and crew a decision was made to let go and stop.

“I can’t prioritize the Sabbath fans making one show more important than the other. I can’t do that. All of you are important. It’s all the gigs or none at all. I can’t come to Birmingham and ‘see what happens’ knowing there is a risk of not being able to play Download or Lollapalooza. Again, for me, it’s all or nothing. I had to say “no” to Birmingham on the principle of wanting to play all the shows. Saying no to Birmingham is very difficult for me. My family grew up in Birmingham. Black Sabbath grew up in Birmingham. It’s still my hometown and I resent having to arrive at such a difficult choice.

“Although the statement was made that, “the door is always open” for me, as explained above, walking through that door is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many complicated issues and unseen and unspoken agendas on hand. I can assure you, my criteria for a ‘signable’ contract is based in mindful principles, respectability, and acknowledgement of my history within the band.

“I hold no malice or resentment towards the other band members. I love them; I’m tolerant of them; I’m frustrated with them, as they may be with me. My fight has never been with them. I’ll love them forever. In my opinion, nobody wins this time; the band doesn’t win; the fans for an original lineup don’t win. Nobody wins, nobody. Even the ones who thought they did.

“I didn’t want to make this decision, but I have to be honest and transparent. This is the statement I didn’t want to write; it’s the last thing I wanted to do. But, I have written it, and now it can go into the universe.

“Since Spring of 2011, I’ve waited patiently and hopefully for a signable contract, you know the rest. I stand for the boy in the U.K., for the coming drum student, for all the drummers, who write their parts out and get stiffed on the publishing, I stand with the Sabbath fans chanting ‘Bill Ward’ and asking ‘why?’ and I stand with Tony and Geezer and Ozzy.

“On a final note, even though I’m at an end with the upcoming announced concerts, I will remain with an open mind and a position of willingness to negotiate ‘signable’ terms with Sabbath’s representatives in the future.

“Stay strong.
Stay safe.
With all my heart and strength, I love you,
Bill Ward”