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Watch: GHOST Performs Cover Of GENESIS's 'Jesus He Knows Me' Live For First Time At 2023 Tour Kickoff
Swedish occult rockers GHOST performed their cover version of GENESIS 's "Jesus He Knows Me" live for the first time last night (Sunday, May 21) at the opening concert of the band's 2023 tour at Zénith in Rouen, France. The band's 20-song setlist also included "Respite On The Spitalfields" , the closing track of GHOST 's latest album, 2022's "Impera" , which was aired for the first time since the LP's release. Fan-filmed video can be seen below.
The setlist was as follows:
01. Kaisarion 02. Rats 03. Faith 04. Spillways 05. Cirice 06. Hunter's Moon 07. Jesus He Knows Me (GENESIS cover) (live debut) 08. Ritual 09. Call Me Little Sunshine 10. Con Clavi Con Dio 11. Watcher In The Sky 12. Year Zero 13. He Is 14. Miasma 15. Mary On A Cross 16. Mummy Dust 17. Respite On The Spitalfields (live debut)
18. Kiss The Go-Goat 19. Dance Macabre 20. Square Hammer
Last Friday (May 19), GHOST released "Phantomime" , a five-song EP which sees the Swedish occult rockers offering takes on IRON MAIDEN 's "Phantom Of The Opera" , 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)" .
Speaking to France's FIP Metal about his approach to recording covers of other artists' songs, GHOST leader Tobias Forge said: "Sometimes it's almost deflating working with covers, because you get frustrated how easy they are sometimes. And then you're, like, 'Fuck, I wish I was this efficient.' But then again, it's going back to school — reshape a little bit of what you thought you knew.
"Every now and then we have done these cover EPs with GHOST ," he continued. "To a certain degree, I guess they have been retrospectively covering what I've liked for a long time, but on the other hand, we've done [ 'I Believe' by] SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO , which is obviously not a song that I grew up listening to; I think I heard it on FIFA [in] '05 or something. And this time around I think I just wanted to do a little bit more rock-leniant… Obviously, you and Tina Turner in there; that might not have been necessarily a rock song. But I purposely decided to, 'I'm gonna deliver five rock songs that will somehow embody, I guess, the origins of where I come from.'
"One key ingredient for a song, in order for me to get the spark that I wanna cover it, is that it has something — I'm gonna use the word lightly, but 'missing.' Something that I can, in one way or another, reshape.
" 'We Don't Need Another Hero' , I've liked that song for, obviously, forever. And I heard that this song could be so much more — I'm not gonna say 'better', but a more massive… it could have more of a hard rock, arena rock sort of presentation.
" TELEVISION , I love both 'Adventure' and I love 'Marquee Moon' a lot; I've liked them for a long, long time. The production, especially on 'Marquee Moon' , is very, very soft. The band sounds like they're sort of in a room like this, and I felt that we could definitely do a stand-up version of that, something that's gonna be more like THE ROLLING STONES 1982 on steroids and cocaine."
He added: " 'Jesus He Knows Me' , the original, is obviously very uptempo, but it sounds like they're playing it with flower sticks — very, very soft. And most of the things that I made my version of, or our version of, most of the things, the components are in the original song, but they're just played in a very, very subdued sort of [way]… That was the guiding light throughout the recording — just to make it as energetic possible.
"The IRON MAIDEN song, obviously, was very energetic in its original form, almost to the point where I would say, from a producer point of view, where I tend to wanna finetune things, I think that the original version might be a little bit too all over the place. So I felt like if I can structure a few things, then it can definitely be a different version. So where you wanted TELEVISION really drunk, I wanted the MAIDEN song to be a little bit more sobered up, or not on alcohol — maybe on amphetamine instead.
"I've always loved THE STRANGLERS . I've always liked that record, and I've always felt 'Hanging Around' , it had that sort of stomp that I like… I guess I could have done other STRANGLERS songs, but I just liked the fact that it also had that sort of slight little… It mentions Christ, so it's, like, yeah, okay, so it has a little bit of a religious flirt. So that checks the box; it makes it GHOST -ified."
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 "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.
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How Ghost — ‘an occult, pop, satanic sort of rock ’n’ roll band’ — conquered metal and the charts
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Onstage at Anaheim’s Honda Center arena, Tobias Forge is not himself.
Instead, he is Papa Emeritus IV, leader of the theatrical Swedish metal band Ghost, singing from behind a latex mask and corpse paint, dressed in religious attire or bat wings.
His persona is of Ghost’s demonic pope, preaching of war and plague like a doom prophet amid heavy guitar riffs and vivid pop melodies. Some lyrics are more prescient than fantasy, from warning of “beliefs contagious, spreading disease” on the 2018 song “Rats” to the band’s new “Impera” album, which decries empire-building in time for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Forge says he’s merely an observer of history and “the circularity of things,” as destructive human impulses repeat themselves catastrophically across the centuries. “Flags, pandemics, flus and dictators come and go,” he says cheerfully. “Empires come and go. It’s always in circles, because at the end of the day we are dealing with humans.”
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Forge, 41, is out of costume and sipping coffee at his West Hollywood hotel after a night of hard rock spectacle, with pyro eruptions and a big stage meant to convey threatening Gothic arches and stained glass. Offstage, Forge is less explosive, dressed in a treasured 1988 Candlemass tour T-shirt, his light auburn hair short and swept upward on top. He’s a thoughtful interview and quick with a joke, a family man with a wife and fraternal twins back in Stockholm. The previous night’s concert in Orange County was the final stop of a co-headlining arena tour with the Danish band Volbeat designed as a prelude to the March 11 release of the band’s fifth album, “Impera.”
During rehearsals ahead of the tour, Forge got “a very mild case” of the Omicron virus. Then the eight other touring members of the band tested positive, along with four crew members. “The whole band had it at the same time, so we just had COVID rehearsals,” he says. The tour happened as scheduled, and Ghost will be back in the U.S. later this year.
The band’s last record, 2018’s “Prequelle,” earned a Grammy nomination for rock album and hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200. The band counts Metallica and Dave Grohl among its high-profile fans, and attracts a multigenerational rock audience, from kids in baby pope gear all the way up to older fanatics nostalgic for ’70s shock rock.
“Ghost has a diverse audience, which I love to see, especially for metal,” says Sammi Chichester, managing editor of Revolver Magazine, a close observer of the metal scene.
Forge is able to find pop hooks even as he mines his own low expectations for mankind. As a result of that catchiness, Ghost has been controversial among certain extreme-metal tastemakers. “It is a routine topic — metalheads love to argue,” says Chichester with a laugh.
The music tends to be more engaging than depressed, despite the ominous religious imagery.
“The lyrics are not about God. They’re about man,” says Forge. “We are, at the end of the day, an occult, pop, satanic sort of rock ’n’ roll band meant to entertain a group of people who are already down with that stuff.”
Any discussion with Forge quickly reveals him as a pop music obsessive, as he casually references Leonard Cohen, the Bangles and the primitive weirdness of the Shaggs. He’s not your typical high priest of metal. “In my adolescence, I was completely a death metal/black metal person in action and message,” he says. “But I always listened to a lot of other things. And that materialized in whatever music I was writing.”
Ghost was created in 2006 with Forge’s recording of a track called “Stand by Him,” built on a slippery metal riff and roots firmly planted in Scandinavian black metal. The music that followed rarely strayed from a growling metal core but showed surprising flourishes from the beginning, from busy keyboard melodies to delicate acoustic guitar.
The band arrived with a fully formed image that adopted a demonic, bizarro take on the Catholic tradition, accented with Gothic flair and comedy. Forge stood at the microphone in the role of a series of demonic popes called Papa Emeritus (Nos. I-IV), in flamboyant papal attire, with a band of musicians called Nameless Ghouls in silver masks. (The Ghouls now appear in what look like gas masks from a dystopian future.)
Forge, who is the band’s only consistent member, kept his identity hidden behind facepaint and pseudonym until he had to reveal his real name during an unsuccessful 2017 lawsuit by four ex-members of Ghost over back pay.
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“Impera” was recorded last spring and summer, after the original plan to work with an American producer in the U.S. was canceled as the coronavirus crisis dragged on. Instead, Forge reunited with Swedish producer Klas Åhlund (Ghost’s collaborator on 2015’s “Meliora”), and he took his time composing new songs.
He sketched out a melody for the album’s closer, a nearly seven-minute prog epic called “ Respite on the Spitalfields ,” on the small electric piano in his daughter’s bedroom. “ Twenties ” emerged as a frantic chronicle of greed and oppression, in the form of a “demagogue sect leader speaking down to his followers in utter contempt,” he says. The sneering, catchy ’80s rock of “ Griftwood ” was inspired by former Vice President Mike Pence and leaders who wield the Bible as a means to political power.
The album also arrives as a pair of successful TV series — “ Cobra Kai ” and “Peacemaker” — have reintroduced an earlier generation of pop-metal to the masses, with prominent use of ’80s hits by the likes of Twisted Sister, Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks, Ratt, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions and Def Leppard.
Ghost isn’t a throwback to the hair-metal era but does share a taste for hooks and melodrama. Forge hasn’t seen “Peacemaker” but spent quality downtime at home in Sweden watching “Cobra Kai” with his teenage daughter. “That series is a slam-dunk,” he says of the show, which continues the story of the “Karate Kid” movies. “And the music is great.”
The Ghost mastermind admits to nostalgia for what was commonly known as “album-oriented rock,” the mainstream rock category epitomized by Journey, Foreigner, Boston and other ’70s and ’80s FM radio stars. “I’m a huge fan of AOR bands,” says Forge, describing the genre as “smart divorce rock played by older men with mustaches who have gone through a little bit in their lives.”
Forge was raised in Linköping, Sweden, by a single mother and indoctrinated into rock early, by a brother 13 years older. Before he was 10, Forge was buying English and German rock magazines he couldn’t read, and absorbing as much metal, punk and classic rock as he could.
As a teenager, his tastes grew even darker and more extreme, as he discovered underground metal rising from Europe and America — then turned away from anything new in the genre after 1994, when he sensed things becoming too polished, spoiling the scary lo-fi sound and image he loved.
As Ghost itself grows more sophisticated in its sound and approach, Forge knows some longtime fans wish he would return to the band’s original recipe. Forge understands the feeling, and admits that he’d love nothing more than to produce new albums from bands of his youth so that he could force them back to an earlier sound.
He says he wants to satisfy fans while also challenging them. “I deal with that professionally in one way, and as a fan in another.”
Forge fully appreciates the intense feelings a music fan can have about a recording artist. Evolution is not always welcome.
“That has a lot to do with the type of personalities that are drawn to the world that we’ve been talking about: metal, hardcore, comic books, sci-fi — it’s a retreat, a safe place of order, organization, knowledge. This is the world that you hide in after school. And now there’s someone coming in there trying to … evolve? It’s disruptive.
“It’s not right or wrong. The future is what we don’t know, as much as it hurts.”
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Ghost: the definitive guide to every member of their crazy universe
From Papa Emeritus I to IV to Papa Nihil, Sister Imperator and beyond, here's everything you need to know about Ghost's colourful cast of characters
Ghost have long been shrouded in mysterious shenanigans. As well as the largely anonymous Nameless Ghouls that make up the bulk of the band, with each passing album, Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge has introduced a ghastly lead character to front the fold, starting back in 2010 with Papa Emeritus I for debut album Opus Eponymous . After Papas II and III followed for Infestissumam and Meliora respectively, for 2018's Prequelle , there was no numbered Papa to be found – just a Cardinal and another, newly introduced ancient figure known as Papa Nihil.
The plot has only thickened since then, with Cardinal Copia being upgraded to a Papa all of his own for the Impera era and even more strange and spooky characters being introduced into the Ghost canon. Here's our definitive guide to all of them so far.
Papa Emeritus I
AKA: The first one. Years Of Service: 2010-2012. Notes: Papa Emeritus I was the OG Ghost frontman and could usually be found stalking back and forth on stages wielding his trusty thurible (that’s that big, swinging incense burner thingy he used to have). The original, certainly, but arguably not the best.
Papa Emeritus II
AKA: The scary one. Years Of Service: 2013-2015. Notes: With a far ghastlier looking visage than his predecessor, Papa Emeritus II was also the first Papa to ditch the makeup when he fronted a special, three-song Ghost set for an Australian website in 2014. Though we’re still not convinced that was his real face, either.
Papa Emeritus III
AKA: The dandy. Years Of Service: 2015-2017. Notes: Allegedly the younger brother of Papa Emeritus II, Papa Emeritus III brought a new energy to Ghost, shrugging off his Papal robes mid-set for a snazzy suited-and-booted look that came with a host of sexually-charged stage moves. Oooh, the cad. It set a a new precedent for the dynamics of how Ghost shows would usually operate (let's just say the costume change count has only gone up since then). Papa III was eventually and unceremoniously killed off, along with his two predecessors, his decapitated head appearing on the cover of Metal Hammer in 2018. Oh dear.
AKA: The old one. Years Of Service: 1969-2020 alive, 2020-2022 as a spooky spirit Notes: Making his live debut seconds after Papa III was dragged off stage in Sweden in late 2017, Papa 0 looked older than time itself (er, no offense). His role was seemingly to mentor younger Papas and Papas-in-waiting, not least a newly arrived Cardinal who seemed to have more than just professional connections to the old-timer. Papa 0 could also, it would appear, bust out a mean saxophone solo, but that sadly wasn't enough to save him when he was rudely offed live onstage in Mexico in 2020. Then resurrected in 2022 to play sax again. This band's health insurance renewal rates must be through the roof, quite frankly.
AKA: The one that wasn't a Papa (but is now). Years Of Service: 2018-2020. Notes: Providing a combo breaker by eschewing the corpsepaint and having a decidedly less pope-y fashion sense, Cardinal Copia was the lovably daft Papa-in-waiting that brought an extra flash of sass to the Ghost camp. Tobias Forge once suggested to us that, unlike previous Ghost frontmen, Cardi C might actually stick around for a few records - and he was half-right. In March 2020, on stage in Mexico, The Cardinal was surrounded by The Clergy and transformed into Papa Emeritus IV. A new dawn beckoned...
Papa Emeritus IV
AKA: The grandest Papa yet Years Of Service: 2020-present Notes: The upgraded Cardinal is currently serving as the fourth Papa Emeritus, and if Ghost's latest live show is anything to go by, he may be the most extravagant one yet. Packing dazzling robes, a fancy new hat (or three) and a fine array of new stage costumes, he's perfectly set to lead what looks to be Ghost's most over the top and bombastic era ever. But what happens when The Clergy grow tired of him and decide it's time for a freshen-up? Could Ghost's current hero buck the trend and leave the fold with his head and body intact? Could a serving Papa IV become Papa V? Or is he doomed to join his predecessors in death? Only time will tell.
The Nameless Ghouls
AKA: The band. Years Of Service: 2010-Present. Notes: Less individuals and more a mass of souls represented onstage by mysterious, anonymous figures. They seem to grow in number with each passing album cycle, and get their own revamp to go alongside each newly introduced (or upgraded) frontman. Currently, The Nameless Ghouls are rocking a badass steampunk look. We approve.
AKA: The matriarch. Years Of Service: 1969-Present (at least) Notes: A figurehead behind the scenes, the mysterious Sister Imperator has appeared in a number of videos put out by Ghost in recent years, and she seems to have a particular (motherly) affinity for The Cardinal/Papa IV. We got to see both Sister Imperator and Papa Nihil in their younger incarnations during Ghost's Kiss The Go-Goat era.
First introduced in Chapter 10 of Ghost's ongoing video series, Mr. Saltarian is yet another mysterious religious figure with definite but somewhat murky connections to The Clergy. With poor Papa IV's future seemingly up in the air as of Ghost's most recent Chapters, it seems that Mr. Saltarian may have a part to play in the increasingly paranoid frontman's ultimate fate.
AKA: The main event. Years Of Service: 2010-Present. Notes: The mysterious cult from which these strange beings all stepped forth, The Clergy is the centre point for everything that Ghost is, was and shall be. They remain anonymous, omnipotent and powerful. Which is metal as fuck, to be fair.
Father Jim Defroque
AKA: The Bad Boy Priest Years Of Service: [unknown]-Present Notes: Introduced in a half-hour special on YouTube entitled "Jesus Talk With Father Jim Defroque" released on Easter Sunday 2023, at first it appeared the Pastor was the antithesis of our favourite Satanic Swedes and a true man of the cloth as he disapprovingly dissected lyrics from bands including Ministry, Soundgarden and Green Day (all Jesus themed, naturally).
It wasn't long before Father Defroque's true colours came out, however: suspicious sniffs throughout his YouTube special turned into a full bender during the Jesus He Knows Me video featuring copious amounts of blow, guns and erm, a questionable haircare regimen. How does he fit in with the wider Ghost lore? Well, we guess we'll find out pretty soon...
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Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.
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Respite on the spitalfields by ghost, dominion by ghost.
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Every Member Of Ghost Explained
Ghost is not just a metal band — they are an entire phantasmagoria, haunted by the lore and rumors dreamed up by their lead singer and mastermind, Tobias Forge.
Forge, who grew up in Linköping, Sweden, took on his brother's obsession with rock and amassed an enviable collection of metal magazines before he was 10 (via Los Angeles Times ). He got into the underground metal scene in his teens. He looks back at that time as having been deeply immersed in death metal and black metal, but those genres were hardly his only inspirations. As Total Guitar says, he was inspired by everything from Black Sabbath to Blue Oyster Cult and even ABBA (they are part of his Swedish heritage, after all).
Ghost started out with an inverse Pope who worshipped the devil and was often surrounded by his Nameless Ghouls. That Pope, Papa Emeritus I, was mysteriously killed off only to be replaced by his successor, Papa Emeritus II. The inevitable happened again: Forge (the only one behind those corpselike faces) buried the Papas for a while and performed as Cardinal Copia, who was eventually anointed as another Satanic Pope. But listen closely, because the lyrics are far from a musical black mass.
"The lyrics are not about God. They're about man," Forge told the Los Angeles Times. "We are, at the end of the day, an occult, pop, satanic sort of rock 'n' roll band meant to entertain a group of people who are already down with that stuff."
Papa Emeritus I (2010-2012)
Papa Emeritus I was the first demonic Pope character of Ghost who emerged with their premiere album "Opus Eponymous." It was the moment church went metal.
The skull-esque makeup, mitre, and robes adorned with upside-down crosses — which all the Papa iterations would wear in one form or another — were the brainchild of lead singer Tobias Forge. The Los Angeles Times observes that Forge had a different approach to occult metal as opposed to the expected chorus of screams and swears and explosive guitar riffs. He delivers the lyrics of a black sermon with a hypnotically melodic voice. Ghost first formed in 2006, and the release of "Opus Eponymous" in 2010 saw the emergence of the first of a line of anti-Popes blessing (or should it be damning?) the stage (via Ghost Cult Magazine ).
The vestments of Papa Emeritus I are mostly black, crowned with a silver mitre and slashed with red panels glittering with the repeated Cross of Saint Peter. Watch Forge perform as Papa I singing "Death Knell" at a 2011 concert, and it is clear he goes beyond just throwing on a costume to embodying the character — though the costume is a spectacle in itself. His hand motions appear to be leading a blasphemous mass as he walks solemnly across the stage.
Papa Emeritus II (2013-2015)
As "Opus Eponymous" gave way to the band's second album, "Infestissumam," Papa Emeritus I was overthrown by Papa Emeritus II. The successor to Emeritus I appeared with an even ghastlier face and more elaborate vestments that were almost completely black, with the only flashes of heavenly light coming from his silver mitre and ornamental inverted crosses. According to Seattle Weekly , "Infestissumam" is an album devoted to the mythical birth of Satan. This disturbed some printers to the point that they actually refused to print the album art for the deluxe edition, which features — among other unholy things — a throwback to the 16th century in the form of a massive Renaissance orgy. It was because of this that the release ended up being delayed.
Forge was still anonymous at this point — as anonymous as the Nameless Ghouls who made up the rest of the band. In the middle of 2014, one of the Ghouls leaked the impending replacement of Papa Emeritus II to Louder as the "Infestissumam" cycle came to a close and teased possible candidates for the Papacy. The Ghoul in question was referring only to the character and not Forge himself, but remember that Forge still cloaked himself in anonymity during this era. Deepening the mystery was the mention of the band considering candidates when the only ones to be considered were coming into being in Forge's imagination. Blabbermouth.net gave away that Papa Emeritus II was last seen, appropriately enough, holding up a coffin lid on the cover of Sweden Rock Magazine.
Papa Emeritus III (2015-2017)
Papa Emeritus III is actually supposed to be the younger brother of Emeritus II, born only three months later — how that works out biologically remains a mystery (via Louder ). This Papa's skull face is more abstract, and his papal robes are slashed with purple, a slightly less nightmarish departure from his predecessor. Metal Insider announced the transformation in 2015 when Ghost supposedly recruited Papa III for their latest album, "Meliora." When Forge still went unidentified, the band wanted fans to believe that each Papa was a new singer rather than a different persona their only lead singer conjured up.
Another Nameless Ghoul told Loudwire that the succession of Papas was not unlike different actors playing the same role. That same Ghoul went on to say that the imagery and music of Ghost are inextricably linked. The band had no visuals when they put out their first EP, but their ghoulish image soon followed. In another Loudwire interview, Forge himself admitted that he had a reason for killing off previous Papas. While they all succeeded, and he never had a favorite, he needed to keep his audience (and himself) engaged somehow. "If we just continued with Papa to Papa to Papa to Papa, that would grow very boring," he said.
The Papa characters vanished temporarily after Papa III's "death" (though they are briefly seen as corpses in the "Chapter Three: Back on the Road" video). In a move that almost seems sacrilegious, the next frontman of the band was a mere cardinal.
Papa Nihil (2017-2020 and 2022-present)
Also known as Papa Emeritus Zero, Papa Nihil is the most ancient Papa character, and he first appeared at a Gothenburg concert and announced, "The Middle Ages begin now."
Papa Nihil has the sunken face of a mummy and the gilded robes of an archangel. He always seems to be on his last breath, shambling onstage with a walking stick in one hand and an oxygen mask over his mouth, according to Kerrang . This Papa is a central character in Ghost's promo videos from his wheezing entrance in "Chapter One: New Blood," where he insists his bloodline goes back generations upon generations, to his remembered '60s youth in "Chapter Eight: Kiss the Go-Goat".
The videos unravel Nihil's backstory, revealing that he was once a rocker in '60s Los Angeles. As Kerrang also remembers, the band supposedly played their first gig — to promote their new EP "Seven Inches of Satanic Panic" (released by Galaxy Recordings) — at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go Bar right on the Sunset Strip. "Seven Inches" was Ghost's actual 2019 vinyl record, which his aging fingers revealed at the end of "Chapter Eight," as he claimed it was time to rerelease the EP that gave his band their big break in 1969. He appears on the cover as a psychedelic nightmare.
Inevitably, Papa Nihil went on to die like the others, but unlike them, he was eventually resurrected. Planet Radio named him as the band's official anointer and saxophonist.
Cardinal Copia (2018-2020)
The poster ghoul for the album "Prequelle" wasn't an undead Pope but a cardinal sans white face paint, though still rocking the look of blackened eye sockets. Cardinal Copia has no relation to the exalted bloodline of the Papas. This is something Papa Nihil keeps endlessly complaining about starting in "Chapter One: New Blood."
As Loudwire observed, the video "Chapter Seven: New World Redro" is an homage to Stephen King's "The Shining." Papa Nihil repeatedly types, "All work and no play makes Papa a bad dad," while Cardinal Copia navigates the clergy headquarters — already a shadowy mausoleum — on a tricycle and runs into the same sorts of terrors Danny Torrance encounters in the movie. Notably, there is a pair of twin girls who walk on either side of Papa Nihil in some of the videos. They channel those creepy twins that beckoned Danny to come play with them by having them materialize in front of the Cardinal and try to get him to join in a ghostly game of Red Rover before they suddenly vanish.
Forge started rumors that Cardinal Copia could survive for more than one tour, as he told Australia's "The Music" podcast (via Loudwire ) in 2019. "Right now, if everything goes according to plan, we're hoping for Cardi to be strong enough and cool enough to possibly do something that none of the previous ones have done, and that's basically to do two cycles," he explained.
Papa Emeritus IV (2020-present)
Turned out Cardinal Copia escaped the fate of death to be reanointed as Papa Emeritus IV. No wonder he inherited Cardinal Copia's eye makeup.
Though Tobias Forge previously said he wasn't going to create any more Papas, he morphed Cardinal Copia into one. The unholy anointing happened during a 2020 concert in Mexico City, which also marked Forge's 40th birthday (via Revolver ). The transformation is captured in Ghost's "Life Eternal" video, in which a clip of Cardinal Copia somberly walking down the hall of the Clergy's mausoleum headquarters gives way to legions of adoring fans with and without makeup and masks (and sometimes mitres). The video ends in an explosion of smoke and confetti that makes way for the newly mitred Papa.
Papa Emeritus IV is the flashiest Papa character yet, with jewel-encrusted vestments decked out in gold thread. He went from Cardinal to Pope to usher in the era of Ghost's latest album, "Impera", according to Distorted Sound Magazine . Kerrang announced an epic crossover when Iron Maiden made this Papa a character on their "Legacy of the Beast" mobile game. Forge himself is a Maiden fan — something he focused on in a 2018 interview with Loudwire — and has even toured with them. "There's a lot of cross-pollination between Iron Maiden and Ghost nowadays," he told the outlet. "They have been extremely important for my whole reason wanting to be here and the reason why I've gotten to the place where I am now."
Omega (Martin Persner, 2010-2016)
Ever wonder who those spooky masked figures behind Papa (or Cardinal Copia, depending on the era) are? The Nameless Ghouls of Ghost had their identities set aside for more emphasis on the music and the mythos that Forge created for the Ghost universe. Ghouls have come and gone — but at least some have been revealed.
Guitarist Martin Persner was one iteration of the Nameless Ghoul known as Omega, according to Metal Injection . The former bandmate of Forge's — who played alongside him in Magna Carta Cartel pre-Ghost — was also the first Nameless Ghoul to reveal his human form. Initially, there was skepticism surrounding whether he was telling the truth since his face always remained hidden behind some sort of mask. But the rings he wears in the video announcing his parting ways with the band in 2017 are the same as those Omega wore up until then.
"I wrote some songs [for Ghost], but mostly it was [Tobias's] own songs, and I would come along, maybe, and say, 'Oh, it should be like...' and we would fight — as always," he told GoetiaMedia . Why Persner gave up Ghost may always be a mystery. He gave a cryptic response when asked the question, telling GoetiaMedia that he would rather not talk about it because it was too personal and only let on that "something horrible happened." Loudwire found out that Persner resurrected Magna Carta Cartel and has been with them since his exit from Ghost.
Aether (Chris Catalyst)
Chris Catalyst is the face behind the Nameless Ghoul, otherwise known as Aether. The former Sisters of Mercy guitarist, who has also played with bands such as Terrorvision, Ugly Kid Joe, and Ginger Wildheart, recently unmasked himself on Twitter after Ghost's European Imperatour (via Planet Radio ). "Amazing tour with our wonderful Ghost family," he tweeted. "I supposed that's that particular cat out of the bag."
The entire band is unmasked in the group photo he tweeted (along with the members of supporting acts Twin Temple and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats). If you really zoom in, you can see him flashing a peace sign over Tobias Forge's right shoulder. The face to the left of Forge is thought to be guitarist Per Eriksson, formerly of Katatonia and Bloodbath, whose Ghoul alias would be Fire if he really is one of these creatures. There has been no confession from him yet.
Some ex-Ghouls left the band with a lawsuit, as Blabbermouth reveals. In 2017, four of them sued Forge after being fired because they believed he was breaking a partnership agreement by withholding their share of the profits. It was this lawsuit that gave away Forge's identity after years of going incognito behind heavy stage makeup. Some of the Ghouls in question — Air and Water — eventually formed the cyberpunk band Priest.
When the Colorado Springs Independent (via Blabbermouth ) asked Forge whether he could have dodged that lawsuit by making the Ghouls' identities known, he said he believed so.
The Ghoulettes (2018-present)
The Nameless Ghouls were all male until 2016, when two Ghoulettes were introduced to the band. As MetalSucks remembers, the identity of the first Ghoulette slipped when a finger tattoo identified her as bassist Megan Thomas of all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band Lez Zeppelin, who had also been missing from concerts for no apparent reason. How long she stayed on with Ghost is unknown. As of 2018, the PRP noted that another Ghoulette had joined the lineup because of a telltale mask style.
The Ghouls started out as faceless and genderless beings in hooded black robes. When Papa Emeritus I swapped out his black vestments for ghastly white, the Ghouls did the same, with masks that covered their entire faces except for two eerie eye holes (via Planet Radio ). With the rise of Papa Emeritus II, they were back in black, with black leather masks covering all but their eyes. The Ghouls backing Papa Emeritus III wore mouthless horned demon face masks. It was the shinier versions of these chrome masks that appeared in 2018, which had female versions that featured longer molded "hair."
Ghoulettes now touring with Ghost are thought to be Cirrus and Sunshine — aka Laura Scarbourough of Diamond Kobra — and musical theatre performer Sophie Amelkin (per Planet Radio ). Their suspected identities haven't been officially confirmed or denied. Forge's inspiration for the current post-apocalyptic Ghoul masks were the (once again genderless) Tusken Raiders of "Star Wars," as he told Revolver . He was into the dead look.
Sister Imperator (2016-present)
Supposed nun Sister Imperator is the forbidden lover of Papa Nihil in Ghost lore — whatever vows these members of the clergy took evidently did not involve chastity. Sister is the only main character who does not play with the band. Her main role is to build mystery and anticipation in Ghost's music videos and series of promo videos, and according to Revolver , Forge uses her to do just that and still leave fans wondering at the end. She is first seen in "Chapter One: New Blood," when she announces to a curmudgeonly Papa Nihil that fresh blood is needed in the Clergy, and that fresh blood later turns out to be Cardinal Copia. Whether he actually belongs there is something they continue arguing about.
Nihil and Sister argue even through her lengthy stay in the hospital after nearly being crushed in a car accident in "Chapter Four: The Accident," in which the hearse she drives is sidetracked and goes up in flames. In "Chapter Five: The Call," a completely bandaged Sister makes her best attempt to dial him on a rotary phone, and they proceed to review the "Omen" movies. Alternative Press noticed that Sister was flaunting a stunningly new look after the bandages were removed.
The sexual tension between Nihil and Sister is obvious in the videos they appear in, coming to a climax in a Valentine's Day video clip . ( Metal Hammer confirms suspicions that they are recreating the infamous "horny pottery" scene from the movie "Ghost.")
The Clergy (2010-present)
Shrouded in mystery, the Clergy are supposed to be the larger (fictional) cult from which Ghost spawned. They are never seen, but always heard on social media. Metal Hammer describes them as beyond powerful but never actually appearing anywhere. While the Papas, Sister, and Cardinal Copia are regarded as clergy since they are supposed to be nuns and priests, they are still not the Clergy, who are supposedly some higher power. The Clergy surrounded Cardinal Copia when he was reanointed to become Papa Emeritus IV. They can also decide when it is time to kill off the latest Papa — or potentially morph him into something else.
The Clergy members are most visible through their announcements. Ghost's social media posts and YouTube videos often open with "[MESSAGE FROM THE CLERGY]" — and of course, an omnipotent power like them would use all caps to get the importance of the message across. This is always followed by "we wish to inform you" before the announcement is made (via Twitter ). But who are they? What we do know is that Sister Imperator is the head, according to Revolver . So she is both clergy and Clergy.
Even after all the reveals, Ghost continues to be shrouded in mystery, and there are some things that may never crawl out of the inner sanctum.
Kelly Clarkson Fans Applaud Singer's 'Beautiful Rendition' of Coldplay Classic
Posted: October 26, 2023 | Last updated: October 26, 2023
Kelly Clarkson wowed fans with another stunning Coldplay cover.
On the Oct. 25 episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show , the talk show host performed the band's song "Always in My Head," the opening track of their 2014 album Ghost Stories .
The ethereal, emotional breakup ballad was the perfect song for Clarkson, 41, to tackle, with her powerful vocals adding more dimension to the classic.
Clarkson's rendition got plenty of praise from fans in the YouTube video's comments.
"She did it so perfectly! I love it! Yes Queen!" someone remarked. Another commenter wrote, "Such a beautiful rendition but come on [it's] Kelly Clarkson! What else would you expect! Phenomenal!!!" A different fan added, "Kelly's version gives me a relaxing vibes, she's amazing 👏."
One fan had an emotional reaction to it, sharing, "I can't explain it, but she reminds me of things I've lost and things I'm hoping to find again."
>>> Sign up for Parade's Trending News newsletter and we'll keep you in the know on the viral pop culture moments and celebrity news everyone is talking about
Previously, the singer performed a goosebumps-inducing Kellyoke cover of Coldplay's "Magic," from the same album that "Always in My Head" is featured on. Much like her latest pick, "Magic" is an emotional song about still harboring feelings for a past love.
Ghost Stories , which was written while frontman Chris Martin was going through a divorce with Gwyneth Paltrow , seems to have resonated strongly with Clarkson, who recently put out an album themed around her painful divorce from ex-husband Brandon Blackstock , titled Chemistry .
Clarkson has often gravitated towards emotionally charged songs that tackle heartbreak for Kellyoke, including Gayle 's "abcdefu," Katy Perry 's "The One That Got Away," and Adele 's "Rolling In the Deep."
Next: 50 Best Kelly Clarkson Covers From 'Kellyoke'
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Kelly Clarkson Delivers Stunning Rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Always in My Head’ for Kellyoke: Watch
The trail hails from the British rocker's 2014 album Ghost Stories .
By Starr Bowenbank
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The Kelly Clarkson Show has returned for its fifth season, which also means the American Idol alum’s fan-favorite Kellyoke segment is back. On Wednesday (Oct. 25), Clarkson took Coldplay ‘s “Always in My Head” for a spin.
ENHYPEN Light Up ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’ With High-Energy ‘Bite Me…
“Always in My Head” serves as the first track on Coldplay’s 2014 album, Ghost Stories . While the track — written by the band and produced by Paul Epworth, Dan Green and Rik Simpson — failed to chart on any of the Billboard singles tallies, the album topped the Billboard 200 and stayed on the all-genre chart for 43 weeks. Ghost Stories additionally marked Coldplay’s fourth album to go No. 1, after 2011’s Mylo Xyloto , 2008’s Viva La Vida or Death And All is Friends , and 2005’s X&Y .
As for what’s in store for the rest of Clarkson’s current season, showrunner Alex Duda told Entertainment Weekly , “Kellyoke fans can expect to see Kelly and her band perform impromptu duets with our 30 Rock neighbors and talent from Broadway, plus more ‘Songs & Stories’ episodes with artists such as Pink, Garth Brooks, and Chris Martin. We’ll also do our signature ‘Good Neighbor’ segment, highlighting everyday people doing extraordinary things in their communities.”
Watch Clarkson cover “Always in My Head” in the video above.
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A rip current statement in effect for 3 regions in the area
26 spirited ways to celebrate halloween in and around houston this weekend.
All Hallows Eve approaches and the spookiest weekend of the year is nigh. ‘Tis time to maketh thy plans.
Briana Zamora-Nipper , Community Producer
This is the Things to Do newsletter. To subscribe, visit click2houston.com/newsletters .
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes , Houston,” I write in my creep-creep-creepiest cackling witches voice (Humor me, readers).
This is the weekend for candied apples, ghost stories and trick-or-treating. Among this weekend’s events are community carnivals, costume contests, a trunk-or-treat car show, Halloween parties, and ghost tours.
Scroll below for 26 spirited ways to celebrate Halloween in and around Houston this weekend.
📸 And don’t forget to post photos of your Halloween fun to Click2Pins . We love sharing them on air and online!
Get our Things to Do newsletter, a preview of events and activities assembled by the KPRC 2 Digital Team and delivered to your inbox each week.
Boos and booze: Houston fright night fun for grown-ups 🍸
Oct. 27 — Punch Party at Rienzi , Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: “Get in the “spirit” of Halloween at Rienzi’s Punch Party. Indulge in English punch, and discover the collection of works from the 17th and 18th centuries at the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts. Explore beyond the galleries, and enjoy music at Rienzi’s pool garden and on the terrace. "
Oct. 28 — Mixers & Elixirs: Spirits & Skeletons , The Houston Museum of Natural Science: The Houston Museum of Natural Science invites ghosts and ghouls, monsters and mummies, witches and werewolves to celebrate the creep-creep-creepiest holiday at the museum after hours from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m on Saturday, Oct. 28. Browse spellbinding exhibits, shake your stuff with a stegosaurus, and enjoy live music by Danny Ray and The Atlantic Street Band. An array of food and drink vendors will be on site so you can graze to your heart’s content.
Oct. 28 — Sip & Stroll at Bayou Bend , Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens: “Embrace the spirit of Halloween as you discover magic and mystery in early America. Sip and stroll your way through the gardens of Bayou Bend. Enjoy live music, reading tea leaves, storytelling, magic performances, and hands-on craft-making. Experience a spirited audio tour about the historic mansion that induces chills and thrills.”
Oct. 28 — Boos on the Bayou Cruise , Moody Gardens: “Join us for a Halloween Costume Cruise, and this one is for adults 21+. Come out dressed to impressed for this haunting two-hour evening cruise aboard the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat. The evening is sure to be filled with frights, light hors d’oeuvres, spooky treats, music, dancing, and an enchanted view. Prizes will be awarded to selected costume contest winners!”
Oct. 28 — Halloween Ball , POST Houston: “Like a Halloween Party from your favorite 90′s movie, the Houston Halloween Ball is the city’s most wicked Costume Party event! Featuring a night of great music, live performances, polaroids, themed cocktails, and spooky fun. Enjoy Live Entertainment by DJ and Producer Alex Lauter, special performances by Aerial Acrobats as they spin above the crowd, and at midnight, a black flame candle shall be lit to summon The Sanderson Sisters. Halloween Costumes are highly encouraged. All attendees will be able to text in their vote for the top 10 costumes of the evening, and one attendee will be crowned Houston Halloween Ball’s 2023 Costume Contest Winner.”
Oct. 28 — The Thriller Resurrection: A Halloween Bash , Moran Hotel City Centre: You can expect to dance until you drop to live music by Level One Band and the wicked beats of DJ EDJ. That’s not all, show off your creativity and join our ‘Thriller’ themed costume contest for the chance to win some Spooktacular prizes, including the first place prize of a one night stay here at The Moran Hotel. Don’t hold back, dress to impress and scare your way to victory! There will be a bewitching selection of specialty cocktails to keep your spirits high through out the night! We will be partnering with Tito’s Vodka to make this Halloween is one you won’t forget. The first 50 guests to arrive will receive a swag bag from Tito’s.”
Frightfully fun family-friendly Halloween happenings 🎃
Oct. 27 — Family Movie Night: “Monster House,” Levy Park: “Get ready for a hair-raising experience this Halloween! Family Movie Night presented by Texas Children’s begins at 7:30 pm with a free screening of Monster House. Wear your costume if you dare...”
Oct. 27 — Scream on the Green , Discovery Green: “Houston’s citywide Halloween celebration features a costume contest with prizes in eight different categories, a dance party with DJ Mohawk Steve, roaming performances by Cirque Olympus and a screening of ‘Hocus Pocus.’”
Oct. 28 — Halloween Classic Car Show , The National Museum of Funeral History: “Dress up the whole family in costume, bring your trick-r-treat bag and come trunk-r-treat amongst classic cars that are all dressed up for your view pleasure. $10.00 per person or $15.00 per couple or family.”
Oct. 28 — Halloween in the Park , George Ranch Historical Park: “Join us for our annual Trick-or-treat in the Historic Park! Travel back in time and learn how people celebrated All Hallows Eve as you trick or treat from historic house to house. Wear your best costumes for this Spooktacular Event and visit the Pumpkin Round-up in the Ranch House yard for fall family photos! General Admission required.”
Oct. 28 — Deer Park Halloween Carnival , Jimmy Burke Center: “There will be a lot to do for all ages. We can’t wait to see what you come up with for our Mad Scientist theme! There will be carnival rides, Pumpkin Town games, a costume contest, and other attractions (including a rock wall and Giant Pin Press). Don’t forget to get your picture done with our professional photographer!”
Oct. 28 — Miss Ivy’s Spooktacular Halloween Party , Fort Bend Museum: “Join us for spooky games, mysterious tricks and sweet treats at this fun family event at the Fort Bend Museum! Trick-or-treat inside the 1883 Moore Mansion and enter to win the costume contest!”
Oct. 28 — Halloween Spooktacular , Houston Symphony: “Put on your favorite costume and trick-or-treat yourself to a morning of all-ages musical fun! Jones Hall will transform into a ghostly sight as an orchestra full of costumed musicians performs spooktacular tunes from Harry Potter, Wednesday, Coco, Beauty and the Beast, and more. Lobby activities include trick-or-treating and an Instrument Petting Zoo, where kids can try instruments from the orchestra!”
Oct. 28 — Monster Bash , Children’s Museum of Houston: “Dance to some fangtastic music by a live DJ, play some Halloween games, and catch a thrilling, chilling performance by dancing zombies.”
Oct. 28 — 2023 Howl-O-Ween Festival , Northshore Park: “Join us Saturday, October 28, 2023, as Operation Pets Alive transforms Northshore Park into a PAWS-itively awesome HOWL-O-WEEN fall festival! This Halloween-themed extravaganza promises a day of eerie excitement, heartwarming adoptions and a variety of activities for all ages.”
Oct. 29 — Halloween Town , Constellation Field: “Join us for an afternoon of spooky fun for the entire family including costume contests, candy, inflatables, games, live music, a pumpkin giveaway for the first 300 kids, special character appearances, a movie on the videoboard and so much more!”
Oct. 29 — Trick or Treat Trail , Rob Fleming Recreation Center: “While at the event, children have the opportunity to trick or treat from booth to booth and fill their bags with goodies from local vendors. The FREE event also includes strolling entertainment, carnival games, costume contests, photo areas, food trucks and more!”
Oct. 29 — Halloween Market , Karback Brewing Co.: “Local vendors, food trucks, costume contest (for humans AND dogs!!!) and of course, cold beer! Family friendly and free!”
Through Oct. 29 — BOOriffic Nights at Dewberry Farm , Dewberry Farms: “When the sun sets at Dewberry Farm, get ready for the nighttime fun to begin! Fall Festival takes a spookier turn during the evening hours as light from hundreds of glowing jack-o-lanterns starts to burn, and Haunted Hollow’s Trail of Terror comes alive! Enjoy all of the daytime attractions, PLUS: Throw axes with Jason at Camp Crystal Lake, see life-sized lanterns of your favorite heroes of horror, take photos in a replica set from ‘Stranger Things,’ and much more!”
Through Oct. 29 — Galaxy Frights , Space Center Houston: “Every year in October, Space Center Houston transforms into a launchpad for space-themed Halloween fun. Transport the whole family to explore the wonders of space–with a spooky twist! Show off their Halloween costumes, enjoy special activities and more.”
Oct. 30 — 11th-annual Halloween Trick-or-Treat , City Centre: “Your favorite little ghouls and boys are invited to the family-friendly destination for a fun and safe Halloween evening featuring a district-wide trick-or-treat. Trick-or-Treating will take place from 5 p.m.- 7 p.m., followed by music and performances by the Real Witch Wives of Houston at 7 and 7:30 pm. Participating merchants will be identified with balloons, including lululemon, The Moran, Seasons 52, Bowl & Barrel, Lily Rain, RA Sushi, Tecovas and more. Don’t forget to bring your own bucket or bag to take part in this festive event!”
Through Oct. 31 — Zoo Boo 2023 , Houston Zoo: “Celebrate fall festivities at the zoo during Zoo Boo...Costumes are encouraged, and guests will have plenty of favorites to experience, including visiting our Carved Pumpkins sponsored by Frost Bank, Giant Pumpkin, and inflatable pumpkins. Don’t miss our Pumpkin Lantern Tunnel between the lions and tiger exhibits, our spooktacular Scary-Go-Round, photo-ops all over the zoo, and much more!”
Through Oct. 31 — Boo on the Boardwalk , Kemah Boardwalk: “Our FREE spooktacular event includes creepy crafts, trick or treating, costume contests, special performances and more ghoulish fun on Freaky Fridays, Spooky Saturdays & Scary Sundays.”
Ghastly ghost tours 👻
Through Oct. 28 — Galveston Ghost Stories , 1838 Menard House: “Historic Galveston Island is no stranger to strange stories and occurrences. The oldest home on the island, the 1838 Menard House, serves as your host for a tour and talk of some of the island’s most haunted history. Complementary beer and wine.”
Through Oct. 30 — Spirits of the Bayou Boat Tour , Allen’s Landing: “Join this ghostly history cruise and get in the Halloween spirit this October. Tour guide Andrew Groocock will share some of the haunted tales and legends of Buffalo Bayou. Hear some of the lesser-known stories – both documented and anecdotal – of ghosts, lost souls, and spirits of the bayou. This boat tour is an hour and a half long.”
Through Oct. 31 — Haunted Harbor Tour , Galveston Historic Seaport: “Galveston Bay’s historic waters are tied directly to the beginnings of the island. On this special 90-minute tour, onboard Galveston Historical Foundation’s SEAGULL II, guests will hear the haunted history of Galveston’s harborside.”
💌 Like what you see?
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About the Author:
Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.