Swedish heavy metal band Ghost are still involved in their long tenuous lawsuit which began back in 2017, when the four “Nameless Ghouls,” sued the group’s figurehead Papa Emeritus, who’s real name is Tobias Forge for profits from the group’s previous work. While this case was dismissed against Forge late last year, the suit has been appealed once again, with a new hearing scheduled for March 2020.
The four “Nameless Ghouls,” were revealed to be guitarist Simon Soderberg (Alpha), keyboardist Mauro Rubino (Air), guitarist Henrik Palm (Ether) and drummer Martin Hjertstedt (Earth), in court documents from 2017. The four claimed that Forge had only paid them sporadically in small amounts from the time they played from 2011 to 2016, preventing them from royalties, and claimed that they had not received any payment for the year 2012.
“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,” Soderberg claimed in a social media post.
Forge on the other hand claimed that Ghost was a solo project, stating:
“Even though I’ve never wanted it that way, but at the end of the day, that is what it is. So I think it speaks clear for itself. I mean, I started it in 2006, and no one that was ever in the band in 2016 was even on the first record. Call it solo, if you want to, but I call it a project.”
The others have denied this claim, stating:
“It is not true that Tobias Forge was solely responsible for the creation of GHOST,” the ex members wrote in a response. “Its image based on anonymity and its special stage presentation. Tobias Forge might have taken the initiative of founding the band GHOST, but all members of the band were involved in the creation and development of the band’s image and live show…”
In 2017 the band members and Forge were close to reaching a settlement which fell through. Earlier this year they claimed that the judge presiding over their case had a conflict of interest, as both he and forge were members of The Swedish Order of Freemasons. The judge was eventually cleared, while the court ordered the plaintiffs to pay him 1.3 million SEK toward Forge’s legal fees. Forge has filed a counter appeal stating that he was not awarded the full amount for his legal fees which he stated ranged around 2 million SEK.
Forge will be releasing an album as Ghost in 2021.
Photo Credit: Ekaterina Gorbacheva