Ghost have recorded covers of classic songs by Rush, U2 and Misfits, plus a piano version of a Motorhead anthem

Ghost, Phantomime EP promo photo
(Image credit: Jimmy Hubbard)

With the surprise release of their cover of Genesis' Jesus He Knows Me on Easter Sunday (yesterday, April 9), and the enticing prospect of hearing what Tobias Forge's band have done with classic songs by Iron Maiden, Television, The Stranglers, and Tina Turner on their forthcoming Phantomime EP, scheduled for release on May 18, this is a good time to be Ghost fan. 

But that's not all: a new interview with Forge in NME brings both good news and bad news for disciples of the occult-rock messiahs. The good news? The revelation that Ghost have recorded covers of classic songs by Rush (Distant Early Warning, originally featured on the Canadian trio's 1984 album Grace Under Pressure), Misfits, U2, and Motorhead, the latter a piano-led reimagining. The bad news? Tobias Forge isn't saying when, where or if we'll get to hear these as-yet-unreleased treats.

In the interview, Forge reveals that he recorded the songs while he and producer Klas Åhlund were immersed in the making of Impera, Ghost's current album, Impera, which was released in March last year.

"During the demoing of Impera I kept working on demos for what I just referred to as the ‘cover album’," he says. "Originally, the idea was to have 10 songs on this covers record, because I wanted to make a complete record and that LP was going to basically mirror Impera somehow."

"Originally the selection was a little bit more eclectic," Forge revealed. "Look, I’m not going into great detail about them, because we might use some of them at a later point. But, it was basically like a piano version of a Motorhead song.

“There was [also] a Misfits song that was really cool and a U2 track. We recorded it all. In fact, we did a really finished demo of Rush's Distant Early Warning, and then after Impera I was just like, ‘I want to do a rock EP. A pure rock EP!’"

The decision to trim this possible 10-track album down to EP length came when Forge realised he was quite "fried" by the Impera album sessions.

"I thought I’ll sort of take away some of the more experimental stuff, and just focus on the rock songs – the ones that are energetic," he tells NME. "The ones that don’t go into any excursions, as in not a piano-led Motörhead track!

"There were even instrumental covers; like proper instrumentals! But, I just wanted to basically make a new recording that was as opposed to Impera as could be – quick and fairly simple.”

As to Ghost's future plans beyond Phantomime, Forge was a little less forthcoming, but teased the prospect of "a new face".

"Well, I mean, everything always changes," he says. "Nothing ever lasts forever... Everything has its circuit, and things will always come to pass. We just need to deal with them, right? Does that mean that it ends? No. It means that there’s just a new face to it."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.