Ghost frontman Tobias Forge says that the character he currently plays in the band, Cardinal Copia, has the potential to follow in the footsteps of Forge’s three previous personas and become Papa Emeritus IV in the band’s occult mythology. Forge explained to Revolver, “The Cardinal is not the boss. He’s just the toastmaster. A cardinal is junior to a pope figure. We still have Papa Emeritus (Zero, a.k.a. Papa Nihil) but he’s passing on. He needs to teach the Cardinal to become a pope, to earn his skull paint.”
Forge added that it was always part of the plan to throw in a new character between Papas, saying, “There was gonna be a moment in time where you have to sort of chew through a little bit of an underdog person that you might not like. So we end up with this character that I’m not even fond of myself. He’s new and he is an imposter and he hasn’t proven himself yet. But if he does, he will become Papa IV.”
Forge founded the band and has played all three Papas as well as the Cardinal, while the musicians behind him perform as anonymous Nameless Ghouls. The previous three Papas have been “murdered” and their corpses are on display at Ghost shows.
The new Ghost album, Prequelle, comes out on Friday and follows up 2015’s Grammy-winning Meliora. The first single, “Rats,” is Number Four on the rock chart.