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Ghost at the Fillmore, 5 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

For most of its 12 years, the members of the Swedish band Ghost were happily anonymous Nameless Ghouls -- accept, of course, for the ghoulish frontman Papa Emeritus.

It’s a little different now.

While we don’t readily know the identity of the current Ghouls, a 2017 lawsuit by some former band members pulled the veil away from group co-founder and frontman Tobias Forge. What it didn’t take away, however, was Ghost’s burgeoning popularity at home and abroad, including a 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Forge -- now performing as Cardinal Copia -- is front and center as Ghost prepares for the June 1 release of its fourth album, “Prequelle,” whose lead single “Rats” is already a Top 10 U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks hit. It’s put Ghost back on the road, and the unmasked Forge anticipates even bigger things ahead for his band...

• Forge says that he’s becoming comfortable with having his identity known after taking great pains to hide it during Ghost’s first 11 years. “I’ve always tried to point out that there is a great difference between being anonymous and being unmasked, and I still will put a lot of effort into preserving the latter,” he explains. “The thing that I tried to achieve originally and what I’ve been trying to maintain is the sense of theater rather than a classic kind of rock ‘n’ roll (presentation). My idea is Ghost is basically a theater show that you could come and see, like ‘Hamilton,’ and you don’t have to worry too much about the real stories. I guess I’ve become a little bit more of a normal rock artist, but now it’s my job to do my darndest to preserve the aesthetic and the theatrical qualities, and I’m going to do my absolute best to do that.”

• Forge calls the battle with the former Ghouls “just growing pains, and all of this...has been the result of things going well, not the opposite. You have to be glad with what you have and cherish that. That’s what I’m doing as we move forward. My mission has always been to take it further and forward. That’s still highest on my priority list.”

• Forge says the Ghost show fans will see this spring “will definitely be an upgrade. We’ve done a very similar show the last couple of years, but this time we have a lot of new production value is putting a little more thought through and has a little more invested than in the past.”

• Musically, he adds, the show also has some marked differences from its predecessors. “We have a bigger band now in terms of personnel,” Forge says, “so it’s way more live now. Before we were doing a little bit of the modern trickery, with backing tracks and stuff to make the whole sound a certain way. Now we’re taking that away so we’re a little more like a Springsteen or Guns N’ Roses sort of band with backup singers and everything. It feels great. It’s gonna be the best version yet -- but there’s still a lot to come after that.”

• The “Prequelle” album, Forge says, was partly inspired by his legal tribulations with Ghost’s former members back in Sweden. “Of course there was a great sense of urgency over the album,” he acknowledges. “I had a personal situation that urgently told me to salvage the situation and reclaim what is mine and also justify that it was mine to begin with. This was a record about survival through trauma; The end result is positive, but it’s about taking a very negative situation and forging it into something great that you can learn from.”

If You Go:

• Ghost

• Saturday, May 12. Doors open at 8 p.m.

• The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

• Tickets are $28.25-$63.

• Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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