Ghost frontman Tobias Forge was recently interviewed by Hard Drive Radio, and he discussed wearing women’s clothing as a child, including his mother’s stockings. Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.
Were there artists in particular that you gravitated towards even at a young age?
“I’ve always been a great fan of songs, radio songs. This was the mid-’80s, so if you threw a glance at whatever was popular in 1984, I will have very great memories of those songs – they are most likely to have had some sort of importance in my life.
“I’m talking about [Mike Oldfield’s] ‘Moonlight Shadow,’ Nik Kershaw’s ‘The Riddle,’ Men at Work, stuff like that. I still love that sort of mid-’80s radio pop.
“My mom was born in 1942, so she is a part of the ’60s. She gave me the whole Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, all that… Whereas my brother was very much into punk-rock but also hard rock. He loved AC/DC, he lowed Rainbow, Motorhead, Metallica. He was also a very big fan of Ramones and Sex Pistols, you name it.”
That sounds like well-rounded musical education.
“The one thing I gravitated towards the most – the first record that I ever got was from my brother, he had ‘Love Gun’ by KISS. I must have been three at the time, I immediately took that record, not only because of the monsters, but probably because there was a heck ton of chicks on it.”
Did your brother had the pullout from the album that was the gun?
“It was not on it, so I have suspected later that it was probably a so-called pre-loved record, I think it was probably used it, but I got it from him, you know, he was not a big KISS fan so he just gave it to me.
“He just bought a lot of records, and some records that he bought were just handed over to me. At the same time, ’83-’84, he also gave me ‘Stay Hungry’ and ‘Shout at the Devil.’ So those were my first three records.”
At what point did you start to realize that not only did you enjoy the stuff, but that you’d actually like to create it yourself?
“Immediately at that point when I was little, I started dressing up. He [my brother] was a punk rocker so he had belts with spikes on it, and all kinds of stuff you could dress up with, and he was a very sweet guy.
“He was babysitting me a lot, and he would dress me up with his stuff. I have photos at home when I’m three-four years old dressed up in his stuff – I wanted to look like Dee Snider and Nikki Sixx. I had mom’s stockings on and all the stuff that sort of looked like the stuff that they had, and they also had like high-heeled boots.
“It was at the beginning of the ’80s, so I dug through mom’s closet and found similar high boots, that I sort of could climb into, and you know, I used to jump around our couch and I had a broom that vaguely looked like a Flying V guitar, kind of like the one that [KISS guitarist] Vinnie Vincent had.
“My mom had knitting sticks, and our couch was not a Chesterfield, but it looked like a Chesterfield, so it had little bumps on it, and it sounded a bit like a drum kit. I definitely started there, my first step as a musician was beating up on our couch.”
Listen to the full interview below.