“But how are they live?” In the years before the internet brought us YouTube, one of the best ways to discern how good a band was live was their live albums, and for Ghost‘s Tobias Forge, he revealed that Iron Maiden‘s Live After Death was the album that made him want to be a professional touring musician.
Forge was the guest on the May 8 edition of My Planet Rocks (which can be heard for a limited time in the player below), where he broke down some of his all-time favorite songs, justifying why each meant so much to him. While Forge picked Iron Maiden’s “Blood Brothers,” he offered up plenty of Maiden fandom history leading up to his selection, including discussing the importance of Maiden’s 1985 live album.
“When I was a kid, I was sitting with 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,” stated Forge.
He continued, “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.”
During the chat, Forge revealed what a massive influence Maiden had been on Ghost, explaining, “Both musically and also stage production-wise, [they were an influence], 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.”
While Forge admits kind of dropping out during the Blaze Bayley years, he was equally excited one Bruce Dickinson returned. “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.”
He concluded, “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.”
While Forge singled out Iron Maiden for praise, several others have been praising him and Ghost of late. During a recent chat with Rock Sound TV, Halestorm‘s Lzzy Hale called Forge a “genius,” later adding that he was “the most interesting person” that she had met. Meanwhile, Judas Priest‘s Rob Halford shared his admiration, stating, The guy’s a great talent, fantastic performer onstage. … The records are wonderful; I’ve been following his career.”
Ghost are currently finishing up a European tour in support of their most recent Impera album, continuing the dream that Forge once had upon analyzing Maiden’s Live After Death recording.