Ghost’s Tobias Forge ‘Loves’ Playing Smaller Cities
I-Rock 93.5 recently had a chance to talk with the frontman of Ghost, Tobias Forge. His band will be playing at the TaxSlayer Center Tuesday, October 8th with Nothing More. Ghost is known for their theatrical performances that feature masked musicians called "Nameless Ghouls", imagery inspired by classic horror movies, and humorous sexual puns (which we're fans of at I-Rock, if you haven't noticed). Citing musical influences ranging from ABBA to Metallica, Ghost doesn't fit neatly into one genre. Last month they released tracks "Kiss The Go-Goat" and "Mary On A Cross", which have some serious Summer of Love vibes.
Ghost's fourth studio album, Prequelle, was released in 2018. Singles "Rats" and "Dance Macabre" have landed the group two No. 1 songs on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. They've been on the road with their Ultimate Tour Named Death for the better part of the past year, along with touring with Metallica in Europe over the summer.
During our interview, Forge said he enjoys playing smaller cities like Moline,
One thing that’s great about playing the smaller cities is there’s an enthusiasm there that you might not get when you’re playing the more frequented, slightly spoiled bigger cities...I believe that every market, every town, regardless if you’re nowhere or New York City, you should get the same show. I don’t want to segregate anyone.
Winning a Grammy in 2016 for Best Metal Performance with their track "Circe", this head-banging, dance-inducing, genre-bending show has something for everyone. Get your tickets for Ghost at the TaxSlayer Center here.
Read the full interview with Tobias below.
You’ve been on tour quite a while. How has it been going?
It’s been fun. It’s been fine. We spent four months out with Metallica in the summer. It definitely made what could have otherwise become a little monotonous, very mixed up with other things. The Metallica tour was so different from what we usually do. It was different production, shorter set, daytime, and had a different vibe. I don’t feel that this album cycle has been that long, really. Even though we’ve been out consecutively over almost a year and a half, it still doesn’t feel that massive, like in terms of a tour or anything.
It looks like you’ll be in the Midwest for the next few shows of your tour. Is there anything in particular you enjoy about coming out to these smaller cities?
Oh, many things. I love it actually. And especially this time around because I know that we’re bringing a show that a lot of these cities wouldn’t normally get. We've also been a little unable to bring these shows to people, because the laws of gravity are dictated in such a way that if you’re a band on the rise, you play at different venues and a lot of those venues aren’t necessarily built for production. Even when last year we were doing the theater run, where we were playing real proper venues and we were playing to a significant large crowd every night, still the production was under scrutiny almost on an everyday basis because of theaters being "graded" for this, that and the other. Didn’t allow for pyro, didn’t allow for confetti, couldn’t use flames, the curtain doesn’t work or, "this week we have Wicked playing as well so you cannot use this part of the stage". So many things. I believe that every market, every town, regardless if you’re nowhere or New York City, you should get the same show. I don’t want to segregate anyone. This tour, this part of the tour, I’m so proud of the fact that you’ll be getting the same thing in every city. One thing that’s great about playing the smaller cities is there’s an enthusiasm there that you might not get when you’re playing the more frequented, slightly spoiled bigger cities where they are like, “Oh, you know, yesterday was Radiohead, the day before was The Who and two weeks ago was Iron Maiden". And some people are so, so blasé about these shows. So it’s almost sometimes playing these bigger metropolitan, bigger cities might be a little bit of a cold shower because it’s like “Wow, the crowd was really not there”.
There’s definitely a lot of buzz here in Moline. Seeing the live show is really a whole new way to experience the music.
It’s a very fun, entertaining night. If you like rock and roll shows and you want something different, you should come!
Religion is a major theme in your music. You've mentioned in other interviews how you grew up in a somewhat conservative area and it pushed you to go in the opposite direction. Do you feel that Ghost has helped people who may have had similar experiences?
I spent, as I think many grown-ups can look back on their childhood and adolescence and all that, making a lot of wrong choices. Spending a lot of time, now looking back on it, some of that time was spent right, even though I felt very out of place, and a lot of the time was spent wrong. And to whatever extent I can make people feel better about themselves and maybe correct a few of my wrongs, I’d like to do that. It’s important for people to feel good about themselves. Especially when you’re a teenager. There’s so much time and energy wasted on hating yourself. Honestly, time flies by so fast and sooner than you know you’ll be out of school and all those things that felt so omnipresent and endless will end. And one day you can just fly away and do something else. I knew a handful of people when I was growing up, especially teenage years, who committed suicide. Often I do think back on that, what a waste. If they only knew that the problem that felt so huge, right there and then - that was twenty years ago. If they had just stayed around for a year or two, life might have changed. I feel like some of our fans might be in similar situations and if I can do anything to make them feel better about themselves and try to focus forward, that's a good thing.