Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schultz
While there have been some rumblings of drama within the Swedish metal band Ghost, it appears that the lid has blown wide-open and well, it does not look good for supposed lead singer/Papa Emeritus (the dude dressed up like a pope) Tobias Forge.
It appears that four ex-members of the band have revealed their identities (all members of the band wear masks) and are now taking Forge to court in a new lawsuit and accuse the frontman of withholding profits from the band members, unfair contracts and more.
The revelation of the members’ identities is news in of itself, as that has often been a topic of debate and secrecy among fans. Fans may (or maybe not) know that Papa Emeritus has gone through multiple incarnations (I, II, III and possibly now IV), though it is still generally believed that Forge has been Emeritus throughout the bands entirety. Further, the “Nameless Ghouls,” (aka the rest of the members dressed in identical costumes) typically went by nicknames in the form of alchemy symbols, however in a Facebook post by Simon Soderberg (Alpha), we get the names of four members who are filing the lawsuit. Joining guitarist Soderberg, is keyboardist Mauro Rubino (Air), guitarist Henrik Palm (Ether) and drummer Martin Hjertstedt (Earth).
The new lawsuit asks Forge to disclose the band’s revenue between 2011 and 2016, and if he fails to do that, get the courts the penalize Forge 200,000 SEK ($22,000 US). While the band had agreed that all members were on equal terms (even though they acknowledge they put Forge in charge of managing the band), they claim that Forge was secretly collecting all the royalties and revenue from the band’s merchandise and touring while insisting that the band was not making a profit. The band claim they only received sporadic payments in small amounts when the members finally put pressure on Forge after receiving no compensation during the year of 2012.
In addition the financial wrongdoings, the members claim Forge of attempting to put himself (legally) at the head of the group with unfair contracts constantly being offered to the members.
“Through contracts received from Tobias and his lawyers during 2016, Tobias has attempted to make us sign an agreement that implies we are merely consultants working for his company, an agreement also stating that we would receive less [than] a minimal wage for our contributions to the band. According to this proposal, furthermore we would renounce any and all rights to music royalties,” the post Soderberg claims.
Ghost has several tour dates coming up this year, and it appears that Forge is now running the band as a solo project with rented musicians.
“[Our] vocalist and former friend is now attempt to, in an underhand and shameless way, transform Ghost from a band into a solo project with hired musicians….Thus, Tobias Forge is now going ahead with the tour…with rented musicians who have replaced all other band members.”
Forge has yet to comment on the situation due to the ongoing legal process, but you can expect this mess to continue to unfold throughout the rest of 2017.
Another “Nameless Ghoul” has recently outed himself, but does not appear to be a part of the lawsuit.