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Ghost appear on one of the collectible covers of Revolver's new Spring 2022 issue, and in the cover story, the band's mastermind, Tobias Forge, opens up about their new album, Impera, and the latest chapter in the occult-rock troupe's grand saga. The interview, by frequent contributor J. Bennett, took place in late January, when Ghost were just two dates into their co-headlining U.S. tour with Volbeat; at the kickoff show, Papa Emeritus IV and the Nameless Ghouls performed their cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" together onstage for the first time, and Bennett had to ask about it. As it turns out, Ghost have been playing the song live not only because of their love for the "Black Album" opener but also for reasons that reach beyond music.
THE STUDIO VERSION [OF GHOST'S "ENTER SANDMAN" COVER] IS PART OF METALLICA'S BLACKLIST COVERS COMPILATION. DID THEY ASK YOU TO COVER THAT PARTICULAR SONG?
TOBIAS FORGE In 2018, when they were going to be given the Polar Music Prize, we were invited to play for them at the ceremony. I immediately said yes because they've been so instrumental for me, mentally and career-wise. Then they asked if we'd open the whole ceremony by playing "Enter Sandman" because that's their biggest song. And then I was like, "Uh … do we have to play that? There's so many other songs that would feel more comfortable." That's like playing "Smoke on the Water" or "Highway to Hell." I felt we would just look like a bad cover band. But they said that's what they wanted, so they asked us to consider it.
Then I went into the studio and recorded a demo because I had an idea of how to develop the melody into more of a harmonic passage. When I listened back, I felt like we could pull it off. So we did it for the ceremony [with Candlemass as the backing band] and everyone was happy … and I didn't think much else of it. Fast forward to when they asked us to be a part of the Blacklist record. We'd already done a version of it, so I felt like if we could do one that could rock even more, it would be OK.
THERE'S A CHARITY COMPONENT TO BLACKLIST AS WELL, RIGHT?
Yes, they also asked us to pick a charity to support. I had heard about this organization called Camp Aranu'tiq that was organizing summer camps for transgender kids. I felt that was a cool little connection because the track is being sung to a child, and also has that threatening but comforting hand being sort of held over the kid. So, it felt like, "Fuck yeah — that's something we can completely support." And the way royalties flow, the more we play it live, the more money is generated for them, so we knew we had to play it on this tour. Every time we play it, more revenue ends up in their hands to allow these kids to go to these camps. Many of these kids don't dare to be themselves where they live, so these camps are good for that.
WHAT A FANTASTIC CAUSE.
It's ironic because we're dressing up to become what we want to become. We have to transform. So that's an additional little connection there. And I love the song, and we're doing it for the kids.
Click here to donate to Camp Aranu'tiq.
PHOTO CREDITS: Photography assistants: Matt McGinley and Robert Nelson; production coordination: Sammi Chichester and Rob Menzer; local production: Jennifer Pio; wardrobe and makeup: Shelby Gallagher; events & space use manager at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church: Lauren Bakoian