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Ghost Frontman Finds Inspiration in Being ‘Mentored’ by Metallica, Iron Maiden + Foo Fighters

Buda Mendes, Getty Images
Buda Mendes, Getty Images

Ghost singer Tobias Forge, the band’s corpse-painted leader who goes by the stage name Papa Emeritus, chatted with BBC Radio 1 for an extended interview – which can be heard in its entirety below – on the Rock Show With Daniel P. Carter. He discussed a variety of topics, including how being influenced by some of his favorite bands, especially as an adult, was welcoming and helped him out early on.

“Luckily, playing shows with bands, I’ve also had the great pleasure of being mentored by some of my favorite bands in the world, who’ve been very, very nice and very supporting; Metallica, obviously Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters — they’ve definitely all made myself and the band and the crew really feel, like, welcome,” the singer says. “I’ve always been [feeling welcomed], for as long as I’ve been doing this, especially because I was given a good hand somewhat later than, I guess, most other bands starting out when they’re 20, and they screw everything up and they wake up seven years later: ‘What happened?’ Whereas I was close to 30 when we started touring.”

When it came to touring, being a band from Sweden, it was important for the vocalist to crack the code on how to break into America, which has long been a daunting task for foreign acts. To do that, he says he was inspired by Iron Maiden and going out on tour with Metallica.

“Part of my touring regime and touring ethics comes from sitting with [Iron Maiden’s] Live After Death, looking through all those dates, looking through all the things and lists of stuff,” he says. “[Thinking] ‘This is exactly what I wanna do. They’re big in America.’ Then you have to play in Saginaw [laughs], and you play four dates in Wisconsin. So that was, like, ‘Okay, that’s how you tour.’ And some of my first really big shows were Metallica. That also set a standard.”

“So now, being mentored by those bands and being close to them and close to their crew and watching that operation,” he continues. “It’s, for me, very, very inspiring, and I’m happy that I have the luxury of seeing that. Metallica was also one of my brother’s favorite bands, so there’s definitely moments where – because he passed away, basically, just before Ghost happened – so there’s definitely moments there where it’s… You have that feeling of, ‘Look at this. I’m here watching this. Being asked to… just played on this stage now. There’s James Hetfield playing that song.'”

Ghost recently wrapped up a tour of North America opening for Iron Maiden, and are expected to head into the studio this month to record their fourth LP, one which Forge has said will be “darker” than 2015’s Meliora.

““The ideas for the new record will be ‘darker’ because it’s thematically set in a darker setting,” he said. “Meliora was supposed to reflect some sort of utopia / dystopia of modern society, where this new one is gonna be a little bit more apocalyptic in a way, a little bit more back to medieval times.” Stay tuned for news on the next album as it becomes available.

Ghost’s Tobias Forge Talks to BBC Radio 1

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