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“When you get a Grammy, you are immediately on a new level. You're legit, all of a sudden. You've got people in the business, in the industry, that all of a sudden know about you.”
That's what an Nameless Ghoul from Ghost said, after introducing himself as Fire in a late April phone call. So everyone knows about Ghost, kind of – they do perform in masks, after all. Their single “Cirice” snagged them a Grammy for Best Metal Performance earlier this year, and the band commenced thoroughly befuddling a theater full of people when they scooted onstage in full robe-and-mask mode.
“I basically regard being given a Grammy as being given a big box of tools,” the Nameless Ghoul said. “You can do what you wish with them, but it doesn't necessarily mean that everybody goes out to buy your album. But it means you get a whole set of keys that you can open up a lot of doors with, that potentially could make people more aware of you.”
These keys are helpful to Ghost, which encountered some stumbling blocks in America before they were more well known, as some people thought the Satanic mass concept their live show and lyrics revolve around … objectionable. This led to trouble securing distribution and additional players to record their 2013 Infestissumam in Nashville. But if those objecting took a second look at Ghost, they may be surprised about the – yes – thoughtfulness of their Satanic rituals.
“Essentially, religious mass as we know it, regardless of where you are, it's usually a combination of visual, smell, music, authority and conduct,” the Ghoul said. “It's ritual. There's something profound with rituals with rituals that goes very well with the human psyche. We like rituals and the idea of rites. I don't know if we're emulating it. In a way, we are simulating it and if people are coming together and agreeing upon being in this religious moment, it turns into one. I wouldn't say that ours is very much different from a Springsteen show. It's just that we sort of openly use liturgy and religious paraphernalia to further extend that religious feeling.”
Of course, a Grammy win and the ensuing coverage means staying a Nameless Ghoul — especially when it's acknowledged that Ghouls play in a variety of projects — trickier. Ghoul says:
“We differentiate between being masked and being anonymous. You can't really be in a big, successful band and remain anonymous. That sort of defies the whole idea of being a famous band, because people will want to know who you are. But you don't have to officially go out and say anything. We don't have to do anything about it! We just don't Ghost with our names, and we don't pose with our photograph. That doesn't mean it necessarily has to be a secret. It just means, officially, when we do Ghost, we don't do it with our real names or our real faces."
If you go:
Ghost with Pinkish Black
Thursday, May 19
Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St.
8 p.m., prices vary, all-ages