Even if fans of the genre refuse to admit it, metal music has always included pageantry. Whether it's classic metal acts such as Motorhead and Black Sabbath adorning themselves in sharp studs and leather, or extreme left-field subgenres such as black metal where performers paint their faces to look like corpses, metal is a spectacle. And dressing up like characters from McDonaldland and The Simpsons is just part of that aesthetic.
"It's tricky, I don't think Mac Sabbath really fits in to any scene," says Mac Sabbath manager Mike Odd. "You kind of have to call them a parody band because you have nothing else to call them."
Mac Sabbath, who indeed have received Ozzy's blessing, cover Black Sabbath songs with a distinctly fast-food flair. Or, as they call it, drive-thru metal. Songs like "Sweet Leaf" become "Sweet Beef," "Iron Man" becomes "Frying Pan" and so on. But more than a simple joke, part of the mysterious mythology of Mac Sabbath (all of the members of which remain anonymous) is a dedication to telling the world of the dangers of fast food. Whereas Black Sabbath warned of war in songs like "War Pigs," Mac Sabbath warns of GMOs and the lack of nutrition in fast food.
"You usually don't find bands that are into humor that also have such a strong social message," Odd says.
According to Odd, Mac Sabbath is more than just a parody band, and more than just a band at all. Onstage, they incorporate costumes, props, magic tricks, games and more.
But if fast food bands like KFC/DC and Burger King Crimson aren't quite your thing, Mac Sabbath will be sharing the stage with Phoenix band Okilly Dokilly, who've received a good amount of attention due to their special blend of metal.
"When we first started, we intended to have one of those illegible metal fonts, and all of our songs would be secretly Ned Flanders quotes," said Okilly Dokilly founder 'Hed Ned.' "But once pictures of us circulated online, the secret was kind of out."
Okilly Dokilly, while a novelty act to its core, has built a successful career on their distinct form of metal, or, as they put it, 'Nedal.' They've toured across the country multiple times, recently released their second full-length album, and in April 2019, even had one of their songs featured on The Simpsons. Not only was their song featured, but their entire music video: a goofy group of five performers, adorned with green sweaters, round reading glasses and that Flanders 'stache, all in a metalcore rage.
"It's gone way further than I ever thought it would," Hed Ned says. "When we first started, the main goal was just to have some fun with it. Our sound kind of came together by chance."
Okilly Dokilly combines the gentle, goofy demeanor of Homer Simpson's neighbor with the aggressive tendencies of metalcore (that is, metal music which also features hardcore punk elements like breakdowns). But considering Flanders' overly religious personality, Okilly Dokilly might also be considered Christian rock on occasion, however ironically. These themes mainly come through in the lyrics, which are roughly 75 percent Flanders quotes, such as on songs like "White Wine Spritzer," "Vegetables," and "Donut Hell".
"Everyone has a goofy band idea, but generally time and obstacles never allow it to come around," Hed Ned says. "But we shot for the moon and landed in Andromeda."
This show will not be the first time Mac Sabbath and Okilly Dokilly share a stage. The two bands originally met in 2016, touring multiple shows, and more or less keeping in touch in the years since. As far as the parody/cover band scene goes (if such a thing exists), Mac Sabbath and Okilly Dokilly are two of the biggest players, along with another Tucson regular, Metalachi.
"The most important thing is to see them live," Odd says. "It's not meant to be taken in chunks or just listening to the music. It's a package deal, there's a lot that's going on onstage." ■