It's high noon in Omaha, Nebraska on November 6th, and Tobias Forge is enjoying a few hours of downtime before Ghost take the stage on their latest headlining tour. "With the intermission, the show is two hours and forty minutes," the band's mastermind says. "Not including 45 minutes to an hour of meet and greet and then just getting ready. It's short day, but very hectic."
Making matters more hectic, Ghost recently added a previously unscheduled show to their itinerary: Milwaukee on Halloween. Intended as a makeup date for a gig that was cut short on May 31st after an audience member passed away during the band's set at the Riverside Theater, the latest Milwaukee performance also served as a tribute to the fallen fan, Jeffery Fortune. "He fell down and succumbed to a heart condition mid-show, basically," Forge explains.
"Sometimes at big shows, people get injured and whisked off to hospital and you don't really know their fate, so it might not affect the show," he continues."But this took place in front of a completely lit-up room. People were standing in a circle and watching this man pass away. It was a horrifying scene — his wife and son were there — so we cut the show short and decided to make it up on one of our days off on this tour. We figured that would be a good way to make it up to the family and to the 2,000 people who just saw half a concert. It felt very good, very purposeful."
YOU MADE A SPECIAL T-SHIRT AVAILABLE AT THE MILWAUKEE SHOW, FEATURING AN IMAGE OF JEFF FORTUNE AND FRONTMAN CARDINAL COPIA DRESSED AS MICHAEL MYERS FROM HALLOWEEN. ALL THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SHIRT WENT TO THE FAMILY, WHICH WAS VERY COOL OF YOU TO DO.
TOBIAS FORGE As you all know, when you have someone passing away here in America, especially if it's a parent, it might cause a quite drastic economic toll on the family. So we definitely wanted to do our best in order to contribute something. The fans were super-great — they made a GoFundMe that I know the family got a lot of money from. They seemed to be ok, which I'm happy about.
YOU MET WITH THE FAMILY, THEN?
Yes, we spent some time with them before the show the other night because I wanted to make sure… we'd been in contact before about the rescheduling of the show, because we wanted to make sure they wanted to partake or whether or not they wanted to have the show as a tribute to their husband and father. And also if we could use his likeness — things like that you just wanna be very kosher about. You don't wanna step on any toes. You never know how people handle things like that, so we wanted to talk with them and make sure everything was ok. And apparently I ran into some of them before — they were saying hi outside the bus or something at one of our other Milwaukee shows.
HOW DID THE SHOW GO?
It was one of those occasions where it's very important that it goes according to some sort of protocol, but nobody really knows how to do it. I'm just happy that there were no problems whatsoever. It would've gone wrong even if there was a power cut or anything that interrupted the show once more. All it takes is one drunk guy in the silence to screw it up. But everybody did their darnedest and the crowd was wonderful. Everybody understood why we were all there.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE, TELL US ABOUT THE CAPE THAT CARDINAL COPIA HAS BEEN ROCKING ON THIS TOUR. HE LOOKS RESPLENDENT IN IT.
It's beautiful. That was a silhouette that we'd never tried on any of the front figures, but once he put it on it was like, "Of course he needs one of those." There's something utterly cool about that sort of cape. It does wonders.
THERE'VE BEEN RUMORS THAT GHOST MIGHT BE RELEASING SOMETHING NEXT YEAR. CAN WE EXPECT ANOTHER COVERS EP, PERHAPS?
Well, there might be something coming next year. As an active person, I've spent some time in the studio, but we'll see. We're still sort of planning the year out. But as of right now, there's no plan for another covers EP. I think that would be a little predictable. I'm all for recording covers in the future, but we're definitely not going to do one that comes out in 2019. And even though we made a live record last year, the one thing I am very keen on is making a film, for lack of another phrase. I really want to make a capture of our live show. Since the live record, which I think is very good, we sound way better now. We're a better band, and now with everything being performed organically, it's a different being. It sounds way bigger and maybe lends itself to a film better. So we'll see.
YOU'RE TOURING EUROPE NEXT SUMMER WITH METALLICA, WHOM YOU'VE PLAYED WITH A BUNCH OF TIMES BEFORE. IS OPENING FOR METALLICA JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SHOW FOR YOU AT THIS POINT, OR IS THERE STILL SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT IT?
Being that they're one of my favorite bands of all time, there is of course some magic there. Even though we're more like — dare I say — colleagues at this point, and we know each other, it's still … as soon as I'm done with my show and I hear "The Ecstasy of Gold" or "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock N' Roll)," which they sometimes play over the speakers before they go on, I always transform into a kid. Whenever I hear "Master of Puppets" or "(Welcome Home) Sanitarium"… they always captivate me in a way that's like an old lover's touch. It will always make you soft. [Laughs] Or hard, as the case may be.