Tobias Forge has finally publicly confirmed that he is the man behind the mask as Papa Emeritus, the frontman of the Swedish hard rock band Ghost. Forge made the admission on Swedish radio network Sveriges Radio, according to Ultimate Classic Rock, announcing publicly for the first time: “My name is Tobias Forge and I’m the man behind the mask in Ghost.”
Diehard fans have suspected for a while that Forge was Emeritus, and it was all but confirmed when the singer’s name appeared in a Ghost lawsuit earlier this year. The Swedish radio teaser described Forge and his bandmates as “successful in holding all their identities a secret while playing at huge arenas around the world, as speculation of who they really were ran wild.”
In the radio interview, Tobias Forge, who wears a prosthetic mask of skull face paint, admitted that when he created Ghost in 2006, he knew the band needed “a clear and big image.”
“A band which plays songs such as ‘Death Knell’ or ‘Prime Mover’ can’t just stand on the stage with a shirt and jeans-jacket,” Tobias said. “It must be more awesome than that. And it was going to be anonymous – a band with a theatrical image.”
Forge also detailed the struggles of trying to keep the band members’ identities anonymous early on, especially when playing early gigs “with just friends in the audience.”
“We needed planning and preparation,” Forge said. “But we knew one more thing – the band was to be called ‘Ghost.'”
Of course, Tobias Forge’s biggest reveal was that it was his mother who may have prompted him to publicly spill the beans on his Papa Emeritus identity. Tobias, who, along with his Ghost bandmates, signed autographs using a rubber stamp so as not to give a clue to his handwriting, joked that his proud mom can’t stop herself from telling everyone who her son is.
“Mother is very proud and tells everyone who I am, even if it’s supposed to be a secret – but f**k that now, I suppose,” Forge said.
All of Ghost’s band members’ true identities were kept secret until the 2017 legal drama when five former members revealed themselves and four of them filed a lawsuit against Tobias Forge. According to the AV Club, the Ghost lawsuit, filed by the Nameless Ghouls, alleged difficult working conditions under Forge.
In the suit, the ex-Ghost members complained of inadequate laundry facilities for the cloaks they were required to wear while on tour and charged Forge of cheating band members out of their share of the band’s profits. The musicians alleged that Tobias Forge treated them like disposable musicians for hire and they slammed the rock star’s “unabashed dishonesty, greed, and darkness.” Forge later announced that the band was “destroyed” now that the musicians’ identities were revealed.
Take a look at Tobias Forge and one incarnation of Ghost below.
[Featured Image by Christian Palma]