Full Identities of Ghost Members Revealed, Lead Guitarist Opens Up on Breakup + Lawsuit Against Papa

UPDATE: Full lawsuit against Papa now available online.

Ultimate Guitar
Full Identities of Ghost Members Revealed, Lead Guitarist Opens Up on Breakup + Lawsuit Against Papa

UPDATE: The full lawsuit against Forge has since surfaced, you can check it out here.

Simon Soderberg, also known as Alpha, the former guitarist of Ghost, has revealed the identities of all the Nameless Ghouls that are suing frontman Tobias Forge, while also opening up on the whole situation with the following Facebook statement (via Reddit):

"As of yesterday we, four signatories from the band Ghost, have filed a lawsuit with the Linkoping District Court. We are suing Tobias Forge ('Papa Emeritus') - the band's lead singer who has also been responsible for the finances of the band since its founding.

"As of the filing of this lawsuit we are requesting that the court, under penalty, oblige Tobias Forge to declare the incomes as well as expenses of the band concerning the years between 2011 and 2016.

The Ghost Case: This Is How Many Ghost Songs Were Written By Tobias Forge, aka Papa Emeritus

"Throughout all the years we have been on tour with Ghost (between 2011-2016 some of us have performed something like 500 shows with the band) and throughout the band's album recordings, we have neither been allowed to share in the profits of the band, nor have we seen any of the incomes accounted for.

"The only thing we have received have been minimal advance payments to allow the band to keep going. This despite the fact that we had an agreement that any profits should be shared fairly between the members of the band.

"When we have attempted to raise the issue of the band's finances with Tobias Forge, his sole response has been that there are so far no profits to be shared, but that everyone will be generously compensated once the band turns a profit.

"The reason that this lawsuit is now being filed is a contract dispute that has escalated during the previous year (2016). Over the last year we have received multiple proposed contracts from Tobias Forge in which he seeks to redefine his role in the band.

"Since the conception of Ghost, our common understanding and agreement has been that we are a band on equal terms, but that Tobias will act as band leader and manage the band's finances through his own companies.

"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 that a minimal wage for our contributions to the band.

"According to this proposal, furthermore we would renounce any and all rights to music royalties. All above despite the fact that some of us have been members of the band since its foundation, investing all of our time in the band during the past five years, with as much right to the recordings and trademark of the band Ghost as that of Tobias Forge.

"Our vocalist and former friend is now attempting to, in a underhand and shameless way, transform Ghost from a band into a solo project with hired musicians. Naturally this is not something we can accept. When we, in connection with the 2016 United States tour, approached a lawyer in order to sort out the situation of the contracts, we were informed that Tobias Forge no longer wanted us to participate in upcoming tours.

"Thus, Tobias Forge is now going ahead with the tour, which started March 24, 2017 and is set to end in the UK on August 12, on his own together with rented musicians who have replaced all other band members.

"Tobias Forge has chosen this path of action without any permission from us to carry out the tour on his own. This under the name Ghost, which we regard as our commonly owned trademark.

The musician concluded: "The actions of Tobias Forge amount to nothing less than unabashed dishonesty, greed, and darkness. Not the darkness of which Ghost sings, but a darkness that pushes a person to betray his best friends when fame and fortune appear within reach. We are terribly sorry that this afflicts the fans of the band as well, and that they too should suffer because of this betrayal and greed. <3

"We who are suing Tobias Forge are:

"Simon Söderberg (Alpha) - member of Ghost since 2010.
Mauro Rubino (Air) - member of Ghost since 2011.
Henrik Palm (Eather) - member of Ghost since 2015
Martin Hjertstedt (Earth) - member of Ghost since 2014
The Nameless Ghouls"

138 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Selfishness and greed in a band context sucks balls. Especially when you're living the dream of touring and playing in a band with your buds.
    Should've clued in when you agreed to call yourselves "Nameless Ghouls"
    In either case, at what point does a band not form a contract on it's first album at debut?  Hey we're going on a World tour and writing our second record... But word-of-mouth hand-shake contracts concerning royalties, credits and distribution of funds and profits are fine by us... You just handle ALL the accounting and finances and let us know when it gets a thumbs up...  Something sounds like bullshit to me and it isn't Papa. Who would honestly work like that for years?
    But offering those working conditions is totally fine. It's all those sweatshop workers at fault! If they didn't work for 2 cents a day no one would pay it!
    These are adult career-musicians, not mcdonalds workers. Continuing to play in a band for 5 years and not make any money is just beyond rediculous. Theres either a missing link to this story, or just an abundance of stupidity. Axl Rose, you got anything to say?
    I agree entirely. I'm in a really small time 80's covers band, but even we turn out profit from shows. It's insane that they believed they were selling out arenas and not making a penny.
    It always just felt like a fun part of the whole experience - at no point would I ever have assumed that they were getting paid absolute shit for their work.  I just always figured they were totally on board.
    Damn son. The mystery of Ghost is no more
    Not at all, the mystery now is where the fuck is the money. Still an unkown identity thing.
    Hookers and blow.  All accounted for with receipts of course as business expenses.
    This is absolutely crazy.  I feel like this will make a pretty solid mark in music history.  
    as much as Quorthon's death did in 2004. seriously, go look up "Bathory" in the news articles on here and you'll find the article that announced his death (didn't even know this site existed back in '04), and the only comment on the article is from one of you all going 'who gives a shit'
    I see 29 comments on the article and there were probably more back when it was originally posted. A lot of accounts get deleted in the space of 13 years yaknow. Also how many comments a UG article gets depends on how long it's on the home page for. If you have to click on "More news" to see it then it likely won't get any comments, I've seen that happen all the time. Also just because it didn't make a big impact on Ultimate-Guitar doesn't mean it didn't make a mark in history.
    "Also just because it didn't make a big impact on Ultimate-Guitar doesn't mean it didn't make a mark in history." ^ precisely. This is a great site...but as upsetting as it may be for some of you to read this>>>....there's a lot of other shit going on (even just on the internet), other than the conversations on this particular site.
    It seems Forge is doin' an Axl Rose
    That was my exact thought as I read through this. Maybe they should hang out and share fiendish plots.
    Easy now, -if it was as simple as one guy saying "you owe me money" and it being true, then we wouldn't even need courts or a legal system.  Let's wait until the case is over to find out if there was evidence of wrongdoing. 
    Who would've known he'd forge some shit for his own selfish benefits... .....ok, see you guys later.
    Reached the peak and now the downward slope. Man I love the recent releases (Meliora, Popestar) Well, too bad.
    Tobias Forge composed whole music so I don't care about some mad session musicians.
    Where do you see that he composed the music?
    Btw guys who sue him didn't write anything in Ghost.
    Yeah, I saw that. I wonder how this will play out. Truth is, if they were promised a cut, it doesn't matter at all who did or didn't do what - a contract is a contract. Plus, perhaps they shouldn't get writing royalties, but they should still get recording royalties. Assuming they recorded the songs.
    You realize Forge is listed on all those songs because he is the main lyricist. There SHOULD be an equal cut amoung all songwriters for any particular song. Thats how ASCAP and BMI work. 
    Session musicians in Papas opinion only, they were full-time band members.
    Mr. Baloonhands
    Well it was nice while it lasted, why do people gotta be so determined to ruin the magic for everyone? i was perfectly fine not knowing or caring who's under the mask.
    They need to get paid. It sucks but if Papa was duping them he deserves to have his band's mystique torn apart. If it turns out Papa was telling the truth, well that sucks, the magic got ruined anyway
    The fans don't deserve it. It's comprehensible they are mad but, it's not like they said that "the fans should suffer too"; that's like pulling down someone's foot just because you're falling into the abyss...
    I agree. But the thing is, TMZ or some other paparazzi site would have got a hold of the legal documents and revealed their names anyway. Once legal troubles come in, things get ruined for everyone.
    It doesn't matter; then it would be the TMZ's fault. This way, they are disrespecting their previous Ghost fans, as well as burning their image to any project they work on from now on, since the fans will know they are foot pullers.
    You're right that way. Sucks really. I had just bought a Ghost T-shirt and couldn't wait to tell anyone who asked about their whole mystique no-one-knows-who-they-are thing. Now I can't D:
    Well, there are four new anonymous ghouls already in place.
    Not sure they are really anonymous. Dave Grohl is reported to be one. Lol. Not sure how true this rumor is.
    People knew that Papa was most likely Tobias due to tracing copyright holders. The current band members are still unknown. Bass player is not named.
    Well, maybe if you don't see any money after the 3rd or 4th show you start asking some questions, no? Still, Forge is coming off as a complete douche
    Before calling him a douche, I'd really like to hear Forge's take on it. As far as we know, Forge is the one who takes care of every aspect of the band, from creative process to financial stuff, so he's not just a leader and not just another band member.
    Absolutly, thats why I said hes "coming off as a complete douche" and not that "he is". I'm assuming he has a different version of the story. While not telling his side does not make this version true, I think we can be pretty sure the Ghouls got fucked over, if it was Forge or not, time will (maybe) tell.
    We can only assume it is every aspect and, many people contributed to the creative process too...
    Regardless of him being the creative force behind them, an agreement is an agreement, and that should be respected Lets see what is his take on this.
    This is all an act, they're just setting up for the next album. 
    This is what I thought initially, with the 'Ghost fired all its members' news, but the more is revealed, the less I'm thinking it's a publicity stunt. We will find out.
    This sounds shitty but is also kind of on them for burying their heads in the sand.  They let him 'run the band and finances through his various companies'.  Well you might want to pay attention to that and see where your money is going.  They just asked him and he told them 'Nope no profits yet' and they were cool with that?  Year after year?  Do they even have any idea of what 'companies' Forge was running?  
    Just a theory, but maybe they were trying to avoid this exact situation. I've never been in a band that made it big, but I've been in a band where one person took it upon himself to take care of all of the bookings and all of our promotional stuff. He handled all of the money that came in, and made several attempts to keep a larger cut for himself. We all went into the group with an understanding that we were equals, and we all had responsibilities to the group (ex: I drove the van). Every time we'd have issues about mobey, things would get heated, and the other four of us would back down in order to keep everything from falling apart. After about 3 years of dealing with his shit, we finally gave up and booted him, which then lead to issues getting gigs because he was chummy with everyone who owned the places we would play and they wouldn't work with us thanks to him spreading lies. Things fell apart completely soon after. We should have done something about it sooner, but we were having fun playing in front of people, and nobody wanted to rock the boat. I can only imagine what we would have put up with if we were releasing albums and touring the world. Eventually you take as much as you can, however, and you have to put your foot down and say enough is enough.
    man ... I still like their music, but that is a huge bummer. I guess those masks are a burden and a blessing. 
    A nameless ghoul once stated in an interview that Papa does not contribute to the band with any lyrics or music. He only sings. How will the future of ghost be if all they are left with is an image and a vocalist featuring hired musicians? This is bullshit. Forge will get screwed in court.
    The thing is tho, Tobias/Papa often did interviews presenting himself as one of the Nameless Ghouls, so it could be it was all an act or something. I can't see Tobias getting remotely close to a position where he can act like a tyrant like this had he not written most of the music.
    If the ghouls wrote the music, forcing them out would be the dumbest move he could make.
    Exactly. UG just posted another article on this with full writing credits, Tobias is behind a lot of stuff
    Sux but still the biggest overrated band
    Agreed.. Their music is not bad, its pretty good but they are overrated as hell. Without the image most people wouldn't give a shit. They have alot going on but if the greed of one person brings it all down, good riddance! Gimmicks never last too long anyway.
    Buckethead's first album was released in 1991.   Gimmick's working out well for him so far...
    And Alice Cooper's gimmick seems to have worked for almost 50 years now.
    I heard of a band that once got rid of their gimmick and did poorly... might have heard of them? Kiss?
    Buckethead's music transcends the gimmick. I think he'd be successful without it
    True.    The Bucket and mask is more a thing for him than anything or anyone else.
    Buckethead has character, as well as Slipknot has mild character...Now Ghost is just poseurism and superficialty; It's why everybody thinks they're overrated.
    Although, Buckethead can actually play his guitar and writes ALL of his own music (if you can call it that). We aren't here debating if Colonel Sanders was really the musical mastermind behind it all. 
    Throwing around the word gimmick as if they aren't entertainers. When did people decide that musicians could only play the music, and any inkling of a theme or visual design is considered a "gimmick". Might as well say "heavy metal is okay, but that gimmick of distorted guitars is kinda dumb."
    Plus it's funny someone with an Angus Young avatar would dislike gimmicks considering the whole schoolboy and newsboy thing Angus and Brian have going.
    You maybe took my comment too personally? Ofcourse many bands have "gimmicks" but you can't deny that ghost's image probably sparked alot interest towards the band in media.. Sure same thing can be said about ac/dc or kiss... or any band with certain image. Maybe it came off wrong what I meant.
    Oh, not personally. I just thought it didn't quite stand... Sorry if I seemed too snotty.
    It's not a Gimmick it's part of their act and style. Why is it whenever a band merges imagery with their music it's always labelled a gimmick? Can't two things be used co-currently?
    Velcro Man
    "Now the mystery of the band is over!"  >bunch of swedish musicians most people have never heard of yeeeah
    Always saw Ghost as a mainstream, terrible band. It's not a surprise that "Papa Emeritus" is such a douchebag for me.
    Jesus Christ people, how have professional musicians not learned their lesson by now. If you're in a serious band, go to a damn lawyer and get this stuff sorted ahead of time. 
    Something doesn't sound right here. It seems as if it wasn't for the Tobias, there wouldn't be a band and they wouldn't be where they are now. Transparency is crucial in bands ideally but more often than not, all members aren't created equally. If you have a band member that never booked a show or handled finances or stayed to watch the other bands in the beginning, then why the fuck should they get equal pay when things go well? If you act like a session musician, you should get paid like one. Ride the coattails and don't rock the boat. If you're dumb enough to believe there was no profit playing arenas for years then you might not to be too keen on the business front. I used to think things should be even but it's pretty obvious that every band has one or two people that treat it like a hobby and are dead weight. If you happen to hit the lottery in music and get noticed and grow exponentially, then my advice is to remember who got uou there. Look, all these guys should get a fair wage. It's a miracle a band like GHOST became as popular as they did. It's not an easily marketable band. But it worked. It was obviously Tobias' vision, hard work and songwriting that got them noticed. His business acumen helped them grow. It's such a waste to see a band dissolve, especially one purposely shrowded in secrecy and mystery over some bullshit like this. You want royalties? Write some fucking songs. There's a reason you're so easily replaceable. Sorry for the rant.
    This just breaks my heart. I've seen Ghost 15 times and love the music. I don't know if I'll even go to see the concert in Oslo now. 😔💔 I work a lot to finance my biggest hobby: music/concerts. It sucked to throw away a ticket. But if you betray your friends and your fans... 😔
    THANK you. Finally, someone with a moral compass. There are better bands who did this gimmick first. Give King Diamond your support, he's 50x better than ghost bc.
    It will be interesting to see how this ends up. If there is no written contract, I think they will have a hard time getting any money from Forge.  I have to say though, having seen Ghost live a couple of times, it is clear the shows are orchestrated by someone who pays great attention to everything from ambiance to choreography - if it turns that Forge is the person running the entire show, I think it'll be even harder for them to get any money. 
    I'm going to see Forge and his rented musicians tonight. While this news sucks I'm still excited for the show!
    Wait.... what about Omega then ? He just left and didn't sue Forge, and as I understand it, he plays with Forge in MCC, right ?
    Tobias is not i MCC.
    This doesn't add up in my my mind. Alpha and Aether(Omega) are both the guitarists - Simon and Martin Persner. Then how the hell could Henrik Palm be Eather since 2015?? Maybe it is clear as day, but it has been a long day at work. EDIT: Raf2411, instead of downvoting you could just explain it.
    Similar thing happened to my sister's band. If you are going to be the "brains" behind a musical project that will be performing and making records, any hired musicians absolutely need to paid upfront and for every recording session that they play on as a hired musician. Because unless it is explicitly stated and figured out before hand, they have all the leverage and have earned their portion of the proceeds performing and recording for you. You can't withhold people's pay on the promise of payment if the project is successful, and then monopolize that success afterwards. Tobias will probably lose this case. 
    So you're telling me a band of Satanists turned out to be selfish and difficult to work with. You don't say... The first motto of those idiots is to live for your self no matter what. I'd have been shocked if it all ended amicably.
    They ain't no satanists ya silly goose...
    Sure they aren't... which is why they wear the symbol of Satanists, because that's what do you do when you aren't one.
    You know in movies there are tons of murderes In the normal life actors are just... normal people. Don't take art too seriously
    It lists Henrik Palm as having been Eather (Omega) concurrently with Martin Persner (Persner from 2009-2016 and Palm from 2015-2016), possibly lending credence to Forge's claims that these guys are hired band members. If Persner and Palm were just switched out between tours or for certain dates then I wouldn't be surprised if that had happened to other members. It sucks if Forge really was screwing people over, but if they are just hired hands, then does he really owe them a ton?
    I saw them live last saturday, whilst it was a good show it wasn't half as good as when I saw them a year and a half ago. Predictable and uneventful is all I can say.
    You either own part of the joint trademark or you dont. There is no arguement. Either you are, or aren't. Same with copyright and royalties. Its a set percentage and with copyright, you're either in.... or out. They should have had this sorted from the start. Anybody with any business sense should know better. No profit after 5 years? Time to find a new job.
    This is really sad to have laid out like this, I loved that band, I don't know how I feel about them going into the future...
    Pope after all this, needs to file a countersuit on these four. For deliberate damage to the image of the "Ghost".
    the guitar is everything so this is a huuuuge loss
    well, Tobias is a guitar player as well, and still the one that composed the majority of the songs... and as you can read on the other article, none of the ghouls suing him have songwriting credit... so no loss on that matter... as for we know so far, these guys are tour members only (because there is no new album with them and it seems there wont be any with them) they're pretty much mad because he didn't pay them full paycheckfor the tours which it's a completely dick move from Tobias if true 
    two sides to every coin etc. would like to read Forge's account on the matter. However, going on this alone, he seems a bit of an Axl Rose type control freak, doesn't paint him in a fantastic light. Leaves a question mark over profits as well, a surely there would be some sort of turnover
    Though this whole cash battle saddens me, what upsets me the most is how willing UG is to throw out the identities of the band members. I can't speak for everyone but I know that from when I first heard Ghost I fell in love with their music as much as their stage performance and dark atmosphere. Giving a name to someone who I didn't need the name of doesn't make the band better to me, it honestly kinda ruins the whole experience. Thanks UG...
    Noone made you read the article. This is legitimate journalism, and people have a right to know.
    What if this could be all an act for the "replacement" of Papa III? I was thinking they might unveil Papa IV at the Stockholm show on April 28. Perhaps this is all theatrics leading up to the new Papa? Although, this is a formal Ghoul officially proclaiming Tobias to be Papa for the first time, so probably this is legitimate and I'm just reaching out of hope that Ghost will stick around.
    "...with as much right to the recordings and trademark of the band Ghost as that of Tobias Forge."  "Our vocalist and former friend is now attempting to, in a underhand and shameless way, transform Ghost from a band into a solo project with hired musicians." none of the guys suing him have any songwritting credit, at least from the UG article... so how in the world they expect to have rights to the records ann the trademark of a band Tobias created, and composed pretty much everything for? im pretty sure they had some discretion agreement contract about their identities, so Tobias will strike back... as for full paychecks for touring... they are totally right, they deserved to be full paid
    If the agreement was to share profits, then it seems pretty shady not to let them look at the books. If there really is no profit to share, what is there to hide?
    So lemme get this straight. These "nameless ghouls" have had names this whole fuckin time? Air eather alpha and earth doesnt make you nameless. It makes you planeteers.