The new GHOST lineup kicked off its 2017 “Popestar” European tour last night.
None of the GHOST bandmembers’ real names have ever been revealed, although singer Papa Emeritus is believed to be Swedish rock musician Tobias Forge, who writes almost all of the group’s music and does most of the act’s interviews disguised as a member of his backing band of Nameless Ghouls.
Since none of the musicians in the band are ever identified, personnel changes in the group have gone unannounced. It is believed, however, that the lineup has changed a few times over the years, including at the end of 2016, when Forge is rumored to have fired all five of the Nameless Ghouls following the completion of GHOST’s North American tour. As a result, GHOST’s current European headlining trek apparently marks the live debut of GHOST’s new lineup, featuring Forge as the sole remaining member from the band that previously toured in support of “Meliora” and last year’s “Popestar” EP.
Earlier this month, Swedish musician Martin Persner released a two-minute video message in which he claimed to have played guitar for GHOST for seven years under the name Omega or Quintessence. He also revealed that he exited the band last July, although he did not disclose the reasons for his departure.
“Popestar” was released last September. The effort features covers of songs from bands like ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN and EURYTHMICS along with a new original tune called “Square Hammer”.
During a recent interview with Metal Wani, the GHOST leader touched on the subject of lineup changes and how they have affected the band’s sound over the years.
“From a practical point of view, you’re interested in, on the one hand, preserving the sound, or the elements that make up the sound, and you still wanna progress,” he said. “I think one of the secrets behind our preserving ability is the fact that we don’t necessarily have to have the same six people in the room to make that sound, which helps.
“It’s always a blessing and a curse when you have some of these classic bands over the course of rock and roll history, where in order for them to sound like that exact band, you need those four individuals, and if one is missing, it does not sound like that,” he continued. “And, fortunately, we don’t have that problem. Because performing GHOST and recording GHOST has never really been the same thing. So that we can preserve our sound; we don’t have to rely on… if some people come and go, which is good. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE is the same thing. Everything goes through Josh’s [Homme] hands, and therefore it sounds like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, regardless of who he brings in and out of the band, which is, I guess, a similar situation.”