Ghost’s Tobias Forge: “I want to be what Metallica was in the ’80s”

It’s hard to doubt the sheer popularity that Ghost has these days. Fresh off a critically beloved release like Impera, Tobias Forge and his on-stage persona Papa Emeritus IV want to take the group to the pinnacle of the music world, let alone rock and metal. He wants to be as big as Metallica.

While speaking with AL.com, Tobias explained that there were very big reasons for Ghost’s success, though it mostly comes down from the thing that sets them apart from so many other bands — their theatrical live show.

“I think there are various reasons. And it all combined in alignment, sort of created the sum of our career. But I think our sound and our way of not writing the same record every time, but still having a signature DNA in it has helped. I think it has helped we have consistently tried to bring a show to the people. It defies logic for a lot of bands, I think, to try to expand beyond their means.

“But that was aided by the fact that I was the only one that invested and everybody else was paid. [Laughs] If we had people voting on everything, it would not have happened this way. Because I was so determined that, yeah, I want to be what Metallica was in the ’80s, on the ‘…And Justice For All’ tour. That sort of band or like ‘Powerslave’ with Iron Maiden. That sort of fucking theater and playing arenas.”

“And I’ve always been very, very influenced by Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones. As much as I’m a sucker and grew up listening to really obscure, very extreme death metal, I also have a huge alignment and childhood love with big-ass arena rock.”

Given the band’s unique look that’s constantly shifting as new albums come out, it gives fans something to look forward to as an album cycle begins to wind down. Rather than fit in with metal’s growing resurgence of black and death metal among fans, Tobias said he willfully drove the band in a different direction.

That push against the grain, he told AL.com, has made all the difference.

“And in this day and age, especially when rock isn’t the flavor of the day, I think it has behooved us that we’ve sort of moved against the pack. When we were debutantes, it was still that like emo-core going on, and we stood out like a sore thumb.

“Somehow, we were lucky enough that people started embracing us as well, even though we weren’t part of any major music movement. Maybe there was a murmur about an underground occult-rock thing going on at the time. But that was at such a low level that wouldn’t have affected people in general.

“But then a lot of kudos and credit I must give to [Guns N’ Roses bassist] Duff McKagan, [Metallica’s] James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains, and Dave Grohl, of course. All those guys took us on tours. They lifted up the band Ghost, onto their stages and put us in front of a lot of people. Without that, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Ghost are currently out on the road with Mastodon and Spiritbox. If you’d like to check out Ghost’s live set to better understand what sets them apart, you can check them out at one of the following dates:

Fri Sep 2 – Huntsville, AL – Von Braun Center’s Propst Arena
Sat Sep 3 – Duluth, GA – Gas South Arena
Sun Sep 4 – Asheville, NC – ExploreAsheville.com Arena
Tue Sep 6 – Tampa, FL – Yuengling Arena
Thu Sep 8 – Danville, VA – BLUE RIDGE ROCK FEST*
Fri Sep 9 – Trenton, NJ – CURE Insurance Arena
Sat Sep 10 – Belmont Park, NY – UBS Arena
Mon Sep 12 – Providence, RI – Dunkin Donuts Center
Tue Sep 13 – Bangor, ME – Cross Insurance Center
Thu Sep 15 – Quebec City, QC – Videotron Centre
Fri Sep 16 – Laval, QC – Place Bell
Sat Sep 17 – Toronto, ON – Coca Cola Coliseum
Mon Sep 19 – Saginaw, MI – Dow Event Center
Tue Sep 20 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Centre
Wed Sep 21 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center Arena
Fri Sep 23 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center**

*Ghost and Spiritbox only
**Ghost, Spiritbox and special guest Carcass

Metal

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