Many musicians out there didn’t start out their music careers as singers. For instance, Genesis’ Phil Collins was the band’s drummer until Peter Gabriel’s departure in 1975. After numerous failed auditions, Collins stepped in and sang ‘Squonk.’ Impressed by the drummer’s performance, Genesis thought he would be the best choice to fill in for Gabriel. However, Collins never wanted to be the Genesis frontman.
Although it’s never too late for anyone to start a singing career, some artists don’t aspire to be the leads. Being the lead singer of a band can be glamorous as the frontman is often at the center of attention, but this might not be what some musicians want. It seems like this was also the case with Ghost’s Tobias Forge, as being the band’s lead was not what he actually wanted.
Being Ghost’s Lead Wasn’t What Tobias Forge Wanted
Before Ghost’s formation, Tobias Forge was a member of Superior and Repugnant. He served as a guitarist for Crashdïet between 2000 and 2002 and played guitar for Onkel Kånkel at some point during his early career. In 2006, Forge formed Ghost with his former Repugnant bandmate Gustaf Lindström. He wrote the song ‘Stand By Him,’ which became the first Ghost song in their catalog.
During that period, Tobias and Gustaf entered the studio to record new music material, including the first three Ghost songs ‘Stand by Him,’ ‘Prime Mover,’ and ‘Death Knell.’ Forge recorded guide vocals for the song, but they still needed a lead vocalist to sing. However, Forge didn’t want to take this role. In a 2018 interview with Revolver, he opened up about his unwillingness to be Ghost’s singer.
“Even when I was a kid, I always sort of identified myself with Keith Richards and Slash more than the singers of the bands,” said Tobias Forge, revealing he wanted to be a guitarist instead. “Even though I absolutely adored Mick Jagger in 1982, the way he looked and performed, I wanted more to be the guitar player who was cool and smoked a cigarette without coughing. And so I was like, ‘These are just demos with my vocals.‘ They were going to be guide vocals.”
Tobias Forge then began his search for a new vocalist. He first approached Candlemass’ former singer Messiah Marcolin. When Marcolin turned him down, the musician offered the position to Mats Levén. However, he refused as well. Afterward, Forge approached Mindless Sinner’s Christer Göransson and Grand Magus’ JB Christoffersson. As they all passed the opportunity, Forge had to be the lead singer by default.