Thursday, September 29, 2005

Petra retires

It was with sadness that I learnt that my favourite Christian band--Petra--is retiring at the end of 2005.

The first album of theirs I bought back in 1984 was More Power to Ya. Believe it or not, but before I discovered Petra, my favourite group was The FisherFolk! Doesn't that crack you up? From Fisherfolk to Petra!

Petra's music and lyrics immediately resonated with me and I found quite soon that I was a real fan of theirs.

My favourite album while Greg X. Volz was lead singer is undoubtedly Beat the System.

Then, in 1986 Petra released an album with their new and current lead singer John Schlitt, called Back to the Street. However, Beyond Belief (1990) is still one of my all time Petra favourites. I also really enjoyed their album of 1995, No Doubt. The last album they released is Jekyll & Hyde (2003).

The name Petra means "rock" (as in a stone). The band was founded by Bob Hartman back in 1972. Their first album was released in 1974 by Myrrh Records and was self-titled Petra. petra was then made up of Bob Hartman (guitars), Greg Hough (vocals & guitar), Bill Glover (drums, percussion) and John DeGroff (bass). In 1977 came their second album, Come and Join Us, with Greg X. Volz as a guest vocalist on two of the songs.

Petra then went through many changes and the band as it is now only has one original member, Bob Hartman.

As far as can be ascertained the band looked as follows over the years:


Bob Hartman 1972-1995, 2003-Now
Greg Hough 1972-1978?
Rob Frazier 1979?
David Lichens 1995-1997
Kevin Brandow 1997-1999, 2000-2001
Pete Orta 1997-2000
Quinton Gibson 2002-2003


John Slick 1981-1983
John Lowry 1984-1994
Jim Cooper 1994-1997
Kevin Brandow 1997-1999
Trent Thomason 1999
Bryce Bell 2000-2003


Bill Glover 1972-1978?
Louie Weaver 1981-2003
Paul Simmons 2003-Now


John DeGroff 1972-1978?
Mark Kelly 1981-1987
Ronnie Cates 1988-1997
Lonnie Chapin 1997-2001
Mike Brandenstein 2001
Greg Bailey 2002-Now

Lead Vocals

Bob Hartman & Greg Hough 1972-1977
Greg X. Volz 1979-1985
John Schlitt 1986-Now

Petra's albums are as follows:

Petra - 1974
Come and Join Us - 1977
Washes Whiter Than - 1979
Never Say Die - 1981
More Power to Ya - 1982
Not of this World - 1983
Beat the System - 1984
Captured in Time and Space (Live) - 1985
Back to the Street - 1986
This Means War! - 1987
On Fire! - 1988
Petra Praise - The Rock Cries Out - 1989
Beyond Belief - 1990
Unseen Power - 1991
Wake-Up Call - 1993
No Doubt - 1995
Petra Praise II - We Need Jesus - 1997
God Fixation - 1998
Double Take - 2000
Revival - 2001
Jekyll & Hyde - 2003

One more album will be made by Petra which will be a live album to be released by InPop Records on Nov 22. The album will be aptly called Petra: Farewell. Some of the old band members such as Greg X. Volz and Mark Lawry will also be there for this live recording.

I have immensely enjoyed the music of Petra. The technical ability of the musicians and singers have always been of a very high quality. Many bands in the "rock" genre have a kind of an empty sound musically. However, Petra's sound have always been what I called a "full" sound. Difficult to describe, but there you are!

It is sad to see them go, yet I will always remember them fondly!
Just a pity I cannot see one of their last performances, since I live in South Africa and their last concerts will all be in the USA!

Petra: Farewell and God bless!

Just thinking...

1 comment:

Matt Brown said...

Thanks for the post on Petra. I must have listened to "This Means War!" thousands of times during one summer while I was in high school (that would be 1988) - it was very meaningful to me. I believe that one, "Not of this World," and "Beyond Belief" are their best albums.

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