Metal Injection is very excited to bring you the exclusive director's cut of the new Ghost video,"He Is", along with a behind the scenes look at the making of the music video, written by the very talented director himself, Zev Deans.
The word “Satire” is derived from “SATYR”. The humble beginnings of satanism trace back to a gentlemen’s club inverting the Catholic Mass to make the first ever Black Mass, essentially as a dirty joke to kick off their 17th Century meetings and orgies. Satire is perhaps my favorite tool in the shed, and when you make metal videos for a living, you don’t get to use it often. That’s why I get excited every time Ghost comes calling, because they understand the power of a good joke.
For Ghost’s “He Is”, we set out from the beginning to make the ultimate christian country music video, and I intended to make it as straight forward as possible with no clear punch line in sight. I always prefer to make something that could be mistaken for the thing it is criticizing, rather than an outright offensive or extreme attempt to anger and repel the target of the joke. I feel like it broadens the audience a little, and becomes something people on both sides of the aisle can debate. The attitudes of Country and Pop music can be found in this song, and I wanted to get it right.
Despite Ghost’s Swedish origin, we agreed that the American Evangelical movement served as the perfect aesthetic to draw from, and I began pulling from some of the darker corners of recent history. Everyone is familiar with Jim Jones, but I found myself fascinated with a lesser known Evangelical Cult Leader, by the name of Tony Alamo, head of Alamo Christian Ministries. This man did not convince his followers to commit mass suicide in a remote South American jungle, but his crimes deserve their own place in Cult history. After 30 years of un-checked power, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in jail for Sex-trafficking of minors, along with a $425 million settlement for survivors of his abuse.
Alamo had a compound in Southern California, and those who escaped described it “like living in a concentration camp”. His cult had churches all over the United States, and his television show was broadcast nationally. On that show, he often performed his own songs. The man had the voice of Johnny Cash, and he released over 20 records in his lifetime. In the 80s, using the connections he made in Hollywood, he began designing custom jean jackets for celebrities, the likes of which have been worn by Madonna, Don King (on his visit to the White House), Miley Cyrus & Paris Hilton.
Tony Alamo died this year, literally one day before we began shooting our scenes in a church in Detroit, for the He Is music video. I was not aware of this until after the shoot,when my partner in crime Brendan McGowan tipped me off, and it sent an eerie chill down my crew’s spines, as we were blasting his music the entire weekend while we made this video.
The entire weekend was bathed in the glow of good luck and the people I had the privilege to work with brought an energy to this project that made it so easy to achieve greatness. It is as if Alamo’s ghost entered the body of Papa, and we were able to channel the madness, the frenzied euphoria of belief that echoes through the Evangelical community.
So, it is with great honor that I present to you the extended version of “He Is” today, complete with full credits for all the wonderful people who gave their body and soul to the only cult I approve of, the cult of Ghost!