Ghost – previously known as Ghost BC – is one of the fastest-growing metal bands on the planet after exploding onto the scene in 2010. Here are 13 facts you probably didn’t know about Ghost…
Ghost has four records under its belt, a cult following all over the globe, a brilliant live show, and some of the coolest artwork and stage makeup you’re ever likely to see.
As bands go, they don’t really get more interesting than Ghost, with its satanic imagery and lyrics, its focus on melody and stadium-rocking ballads, EPIC guitar riffs, and the ever-changing persona of its singer, Papa Emeritus (also known as Cardinal Copia).
If you’re new to Ghost, or a long-standing fan, you might enjoy this post which goes over some of the lesser-known facts about Ghost, its founding members, and some of the controversies that have dogged the band in recent times. Let’s do this…
Ghost is a Solo Project
You might think Ghost is a band. But it isn’t. In fact, Ghost is actually a solo project masterminded by one guy, Tobias Forge. Forge writes and records all of the music by himself and uses hired guns to play in the live band when Ghost is on tour. Forge is the ONLY official member of Ghost, the rest of the band are hired guns.
Tobias Forge has been a couple of other bands, most notably the death metal band Repugnant and sleaze metal band Crashdiet. Forge started Ghost back in 2006 off the back of a riff that he described as the “heaviest metal riff ever written” – that song went on to become the Ghost track, Stand By Him.
Tobias Forge is The Singer & Chief Song Writer
The frontman of Ghost, initially, was meant to be a secret. The entire band was meant to be completely anonymous. This is why Forge created the Papa Emeritus character, as well as Cardinal Copia. Forge initially didn’t want to do vocals but after struggling to find anybody else to do it, he ended up taking up the role permanently.
Every incarnation of Cardinal Copia and Papa Emeritus has been played by Tobias Forge. Forge does all the singing on all the records, as well as live. He wears heavy makeup and, on occasion, a mask to hide his identity. Up until 2017, nobody knew who was in the band Ghost.
Dave Grohl Was In Ghost
Because there was so much mystery surrounding Ghost, there was plenty of speculation about who was behind the band. It wasn’t until 2017 that Tobias Forge was unmasked during a court case, whereby the other “members” of the band tried to sue him.
Prior to all the legal shenanigans kicking off, Ghost recorded an EP in 2013 titled If You Have Ghost. This record was produced by Dave Grohl, and the Foo Fighter’s main man even played drums on the album. Grohl is also rumored to have done a Nameless Ghoul suit and played with the band live on a few occasions too.
Ghost Used Myspace To Get Started
When Tobias Forge had his first Ghost demos recorded, around 2010, he uploaded them to Myspace. Within a few days, Forge had labels on the phone wanting to sign the band. Forge then spent a frantic few weeks recording Ghost’s first studio album, Opus Eponymous, which was released in 2010 via Rise Above Records.
The first single off that album, Elizabeth, performed well and the album itself was widely praised by critics. Ghost played its first-ever show at the Hammer of Doom festival in Würzburg, Germany, on October 23, 2010.
Tobias Forge Used To Be In A Death Metal Band
Tobias Forge is most well known for Ghost. Ghost also likely represents a HUGE slice of his net worth; the band is now huge, globally, having sold hundreds of thousands of records. It also has multiple sold-out worldwide tours under its belt too. Ghost has made Forge a wealthy dude, basically. Of that, there is no doubt.
But Forge cut his teeth in the death metal band, REPUGNANT, and is also known for his roles in the following bands: Onkel Kånkel and Crashdïet. Forge has been playing in bands and touring since 1994.
James Hetfield Really Likes Ghost
One of Ghost’s biggest fans is none other than Metallica’s James Hetfield. Hetfield first heard Ghost back in 2011 and subsequently invited Ghost out to support Metallica on its North American tour, exposing Ghost to hundreds of thousands of new fans.
I’m in their fan club. [Laughs] I had no idea what they looked like until I saw the video. I heard the music first and I thought it was very great very unique, very melodic, and a breath of fresh air for metal. It reminded me a bit of ’70s kind of rock that I liked as well. So yeah, I love the band.James Hetfield
Ghost Was Banned From America
Because of Ghost’s satanic imagery, and the fact that America is VERY Christian in certain parts, Ghost has run into plenty of trouble when playing in America. When recording Infestissumam in Nashville, Ghost was unable to find singers that were willing to do backing vocals – the lyrics were too satanic, apparently.
Despite Ghost’s radio-friendly sound, the band’s music was banned from major chain stores, most late-night television shows, and most commercial radio stations, according to one of The Nameless Ghouls.
However, from around 2015, things started to change. Ghost hit the mainstream and started getting guest appearances on TV shows and radio stations. Ghost appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on 30 October 2015, during a Halloween-themed episode.
Papa Emeritus is Based On The Pope & And Tobias Forge is ALL The Papas
Tobias Forge based the character of Papa Emeritus on the pope. The entire aesthetic of Ghost is based on the Catholic church, its liturgy, and its customs, although Ghost inverts them, adding in its own special satanic flavoring. Ghost also develops backstories for each of its Papa characters.
For instance, Papa III is the “younger brother by three months” of Papa Emeritus II.
Papa III made his live debut on June 3, 2015, at a special show in their hometown of Linköping, Sweden. Papa II passed the mic down to his younger brother. Papa III and the ghouls played four new songs: From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Cirice, Majesty, and Absolution. Cirice also won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016.Ghost
The Nameless Ghouls Represent One of The Five Main Elements – Earth, Wind, Water, Ether, Fire and Wind
In a nod to the occult and Wiccan ideas of creation, each of The Nameless Ghouls represents one of the five elements that make up our reality: Earth, Wind, Water, Ether, Fire, and Wind.
- Lead Guitarist – Fire
- Drummer – Earth
- Bassist – Water
- Keyboards – Wind
- Rhythm Guitar – Ether
Ghost is From Sweden
Tobias Forge is 40 years old and was born in Linköping, Sweden in 1981. Forge is based in Sweden still and records and writes most of Ghost’s music there.
The Nameless Ghouls’ Tried To Sue Tobias Forge
In 2017, Tobias Forge and all subsequent members of Ghost were revealed during a court case. Forge is the chief songwriter of the band and therefore controls all the revenue and gets the majority of the money from the band’s royalties.
A selection of the band, however, felt that they were being cheated out of royalties, so they took Forge to court in a bid to sue him for access to royalties they believed they were due.
The former GHOST members are asking the court to order Forge to disclose the company’s revenues and expenses for the financial years 2011 to 2016 as well as to reveal the company’s assets as of December 31, 2016. If he fails to act as ordered, they are asking the court to force Forge to pay a penalty of SEK 200,000 (approximately $22,000), or an amount that the court considers reasonable.
According to the lawsuit, GHOST was formed in 2010 and Forge, through his company, has been collecting all revenues from the sale of the band’s merchandise and music recordings. The GHOST leader did not at any time provide the other musicians with the company’s financial statements, the lawsuit claims, and has instead insisted that the company was not yet profitable.BLABBER MOUTH
The Live Band is NOT The Same As The Studio Band
Forge writes and records most of Ghost’s albums by himself. He does, however, use session musicians when recording Ghost albums. But the session musicians he uses in the studio to record the albums, oddly, are not the same musicians that make up The Nameless Ghouls when Ghost plays live and tours.
As noted earlier, Forge views Ghost as a solo project. Like Nine Inch Nails or Queens of The Stone Age, to an extent, there is only one, core member. In this respect, Tobias Forge. The setup ensures he has complete creative control and owns and controls all the revenue generated by Ghost.
Ghost Has Sold A LOT of Records
Despite its controversial image, Ghost has sold A LOT of records. Its break-out record, Meliora, sold very well, and the band’s latest record, Prequelle, sold 66,000 copies in its first week on sale. Ghost has also toured extensively, playing clubs and stadiums, as well as festivals.
Prequelle debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200. Revolver and Metal Hammer named it the best album of the year. And the average review for the album earned it a near-perfect score of 9/10 from most music review sites.
Ghost is currently working on a new album. The as-yet-untitled album is currently being recorded and likely won’t be out until 2022. Ghost released the single Hunter’s Moon in 2021. And you can check that song out here.