GHOST's TOBIAS FORGE Says 'Jesus He Knows Me' Lyrics 'Feel So Contemporary And Important' In 2023

May 8, 2023

In a new interview with Australia's The Music, GHOST leader Tobias Forge spoke about the inspiration for his band's recently released cover of GENESIS's 1992 song "Jesus He Knows Me". The track is the first single off GHOST's upcoming five-song covers EP "Phantomime", due out May 18. The EP also features tracks by IRON MAIDEN ("Phantom Of The Opera"),TELEVISION ("See No Evil"),THE STRANGLERS ("Hanging Around") and Tina Turner ("We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)").

Regarding the subject matter of "Jesus He Knows Me" — a satirical look at televangelism — Forge told The Music: "It's frighteningly horrible. It's easy not to laugh about the accuracy in which Phil Collins wrote a lyric that ten years ago felt almost dated, even outdated, which now feels so contemporary and important."

He continued: "When we started touring America, I was asked so many times, 'Do you have a problem with the Christian fundamentalists or picket fencers or any of that stuff?' I was, like, 'No, never.' Like, there seems to be a sort of undercurrent of that stuff over there. I didn't see that, we were all over the place, even in the South, and definitely a lot in the heartland.

"My impression of those cities is just wonderful — a lot of nice people who come to rock shows, and they're super friendly, and everything is just fucking dandy," he added. "And then, obviously, the last five or six years, the people are still the same, I still feel that they're in the same climate. But obviously, parallel to that, there is this complete Flat Earth cult that has just decided to throw in the towel. I don't know what their aim is."

Referencing the fact that some televangelists ask people to give cash to earn financial favor from God, Forge said: "I cannot neglect to underline the fact that the followers, they are people who don't know better. I pity them — they are being used and humiliated and the leaders are just completely exploiting them. The exchange is supposed to be: 'Give me money, and I will give you the past back'. Look, I'm a nostalgic person as well. I wish it was 1985, too, believe me. But if anyone would come to me and say that, 'If you pay me $1 or $10 — anything you can spare — and I will give you 1985 back,' I would know you're lying. You're obviously lying. You're obviously telling me something that is not true. But yeah, such is the world now.

"You never reach the status quo. Unfortunately, the pendulum swings and sometimes you're in the shitter and sometimes the opposite side, that's how it's always been," he said. "That's the horrid thing about the shit that they're trying to sell you, especially when they're trying to sell it as some sort of religion sandwich because they're telling you that the world is linear, and time is linear. In this case, they're talking about heaven or hell. That is not how it really works. Everything else in this world is circular. So why wouldn't that also be circular? That's the true essence of evil — tricking people into believing something in order to get something out of them and trying to sell them salvation."

GHOST is no stranger to covers, having previously tackled material originally written and recorded by THE BEATLES ("Here Comes The Sun"), ABBA ("I'm A Marionette"), DEPECHE MODE ("Waiting For The Night"), Roky Erickson ("If You Have Ghosts"), METALLICA ("Enter Sandman"), PET SHOP BOYS ("It's A Sin") and EURYTHMICS ("Missionary Man"), among others.

This past February, GHOST revealed details of its upcoming "Re-Imperatour" summer 2023 U.S. tour with special guest AMON AMARTH. Produced by Live Nation and FPC Live, the 27-date trek kicks off on Wednesday, August 2 in Concord, California at Concord Pavilion, with stops in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cincinnati, Austin and more before wrapping up with the band's Monday, September 11 return to the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.

GHOST is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Impera", which sold 70,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the third top 10 album — and fifth top 40-charting set — for the Swedish act. The 12-song effort was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace.

"Impera" landed at position No. 1 in Germany and Sweden, No. 2 in the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, No. 3 in Australia, No. 5 in France and Ireland, and No. 20 in Italy.

Forge worked on the follow-up to 2018's "Prequelle" with Åhlund and Swedish co-writers Salem Al Fakir and Vincent Pontare, whose credits include Madonna and Lady Gaga.

In January, GHOST released a new version of its song "Spillways" featuring a guest appearance by DEF LEPPARD singer Joe Elliott.

"Spillways" is taken from "Impera", which was released in March 2022.

Photo credit: Jimmy Hubbard

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