PAUL DI'ANNO Says TOBIAS FORGE Didn't Put Enough 'Effort' Into Vocals On GHOST's Cover Of IRON MAIDEN's 'Phantom Of The Opera'
May 30, 2023
Former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di'Anno says that he wishes Tobias Forge had "put a bit more effort into the vocals" on GHOST's cover version of MAIDEN's "Phantom Of The Opera".
GHOST's rendition of "Phantom Of The Opera" was made available earlier this month as a preview of the band's "Phantomime" EP, which sees the Swedish occult rockers offering takes on GENESIS's "Jesus He Knows Me", TELEVISION's "See No Evil", THE STRANGLERS' "Hanging Around" and Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)", alongside the aforementioned MAIDEN cover.
On May 16, the same day that GHOST's version of "Phantom" was made available, Di'Anno — who sang on MAIDEN's original recording of the song — took to his personal Facebook page to write in a since-deleted post: "Everyone asking my opinion on the ghost cover of phantom well not that it matters but it fkn sucks". The singer, whose real name is Paul Andrews, went on to add a series of vomit emojis, as can be seen in the screenshot below, courtesy of The Metal Voice.
In a new interview with Loaded Radio, Di'Anno elaborated on his opinion of GHOST's cover of "Phantom Of The Opera", saying (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The music's great. I just don't think Tobias fucking tried hard enough vocally. He sounds a bit plain… And he changed the lyrics slightly… That was a bit weird."
Referencing his since-deleted Facebook post, Paul continued: "When I first heard it, I was probably in a bad mood that day. I said, 'This is fucking bullshit.' But I've listened to it about three or four times. [The music is] pretty damn good, actually, to be honest with you. But as I said, I just feel like Tobias didn't give it some welly [using British slang for 'energy'], as we say… Give me some fucking welly."
Di'Anno went on to say that he has nothing against GHOST or Tobias personally.
"Regardless of what you think of GHOST, I'm very happy for them," Paul said. "Maybe I was just pissed off with life [that day], as usual. The older I get, the grumpier I am. Fucking great. Once you get over 50, you've got every fucking right to say what you want.
"As I said, I just wish he'd put a bit more effort into the vocals. That's all," he added.
Forge explained his approach to covering the MAIDEN classic in a recent interview with Revolver, saying: "I think that the Papas and the Cardinal and the character that I'm trying to mimic [in GHOST] is a combination of all the dark protagonist hero-freaks that we're following in gothic literature and media — Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and all of those — but he's also a bit of Inspector Clouseau. He's a parody of a male archetype in so many ways, but he becomes funny that way. And the Phantom Of The Opera is similar. He's a cool gentleman in one way, but he's also pathetic and miserable."
Regarding his decision to alter the original MAIDEN lyrics a bit, Forge said: "The original lyrics are written in three perspectives, or at least that's how it came off to me when I tried to learn the song, which didn't make much sense to me. The Phantom is one perspective, the other was [Phantom Of The Opera protagonist] Christine, and then there was this third party. So, I reached out to [IRON MAIDEN bassist-lyricist] Steve [Harris] and asked if I could adjust a few things so I could get it down to just two perspectives. And Steve is so cool — talk about big-dick syndrome — he just said, 'Absolutely.' We had that plan with GENESIS, as well, but the problem was that we waited too long and by the time we asked, it was five hours from recording. I wanted to change the line with 'phone book' in it to a less dated reference — not Facebook, by the way — but it was too late."
Di'Anno recorded two classic albums with IRON MAIDEN — a self-titled effort in 1980 and "Killers" in 1981 — before being fired and replaced by Bruce Dickinson. He went on to front a number of other bands, including KILLERS and BATTLEZONE, and released several solo records.
Di'Anno, who finally underwent his knee surgery in September 2022, played the first show since the operation on October 1 at the Keep It True Rising II festival in Würzburg, Germany. He has since completed a Latin American tour and has a number of live dates scheduled for the rest of this year.
In December, Paul was joined by Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, for three concerts in Greece, where they played songs from "Iron Maiden" and "Killers".
In May 2022, Di'Anno came face to face with Harris for the first time in three decades before the band's concert in Croatia.
Harris, whose group kicked off the 2022 leg of its "Legacy Of The Beast" world tour at the 22,000-capacity Arena Zagreb, came out before the show to greet a wheelchair-bound Di'Anno and chat with him for a few minutes.
After his friendly meeting with Harris, Di'Anno stuck around long enough to watch some of MAIDEN's performance before leaving near the end of the set to avoid a huge traffic jam after the show.
A year ago, Paul played his first full solo concert in seven years at the Bikers Beer Factory in Zagreb. The show was filmed and parts of it will be included in a documentary about Di'Anno, to be directed by Wes Orshoski, co-director and producer of the acclaimed 2010 film "Lemmy" about the MOTÖRHEAD icon.
The Zagreb concert was free to attend and was held as a way of thanking Paul's fans for their help during the most difficult time of his recovery. The show took place just a day before the IRON MAIDEN's gig at the Zagreb Arena.
Last year, Di'Anno teamed up with several Croatian musicians to form a new project called WARHORSE. WARHORSE entered the studio to record three songs, two of which — "Stop The War" and "The Doubt Within" — were released as a special limited-edition DVD single. A full-length WARHORSE album will arrive later this year.
Last year, Forge told the "My Planet Rocks" show on the U.K. rock radio station Planet Rock that MAIDEN has been a "massive influence" on GHOST. "Both musically and also stage production-wise," he said. "But also when it comes to work ethics and just the sheer volume of work you have to put into your job [and] in your craft has always been inspiring to me.
"When I was a kid, I was sitting with [IRON MAIDEN's 1985 live album] 'Live After Death' record and I was dead set on wanting to become a professional musician and I wanted to tour. I knew about the concept of touring, but a lot of my knowledge or my preconceived notions of what I thought touring was about was looking through 'Live After Death' and seeing all those dates that they were playing everywhere. I sat there with like a big map book and just drew out how they toured, where they played and how often you play. That record in the inner sleeve, you have a lot of information about touring life."
Forge continued: "The '90s was a little bit medieval for a lot of the '80s [metal] bands and I must say that after Bruce [Dickinson] left [in 1993], I wasn't a giant fan of the Blaze Bayley years. In the '90s, this is before Internet, this is before accessibility that way you had to invest in your records, and you had to invest time into anything that you liked.
"In 1995 when they made the first record with Blaze ['The X Factor'], I was so buried in death/black metal stuff, and I was so busy exploring what happened in 1985 that I didn't have time for following that. So, of course, I was amazed when Bruce came back into the band and they made this triumphant return. I must say that 'Brave New World', the comeback record with Bruce, was and still is an unbelievably well-constructed record… That record is actually really good from start to finish. Unbelievable.
"It's incredible that a band 20 years into their professional career were able to still add songs to their already existing and mind-blowingly great repertoire. I think that 'Blood Brothers' is a song that they are still playing at most of their shows, but they could easily play 10 songs from that record."
Paul Dianno Gives his opinion on the new 'Phantom of the Opera' Iron Maiden cover by Ghost
Quote "Everyone asking my opinion on the ghost cover of phantom well not that it matters but it fkn sucks 🤮🤮🤮"
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