Petra Biography

One of the first US Christian hard rock bands, Petra are an excellent musical unit who have never been swayed by passing trends and have adhered resolutely to their own ideals and beliefs. Petra specialize in a varied musical approach, with their stadium rock sound incorporating elements of the Eagles, Joe Walsh, Kansas and Deep Purple. They have released well over a dozen high-quality albums to date, with their popularity having gradually waned from its peak in 1984.

The band was formed in 1972 by Bob Hartman (26 December 1949, Byron, Ohio, USA; guitar), Greg Hough (guitar/vocals), John DeGroff (bass), and Bill Glover (drums, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1974. Greg X. Volz (b. 12 January 1950, Peoria, Illinois, USA; vocals) was added to the line-up on 1977’s Come And Join Us. Mark Kelly (b. 28 June 1956, Enid, Oklahoma, USA; bass), John Slick (b. 28 September 1953, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA; keyboards) and Louie Weaver (b. 13 July 1951, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; drums) joined the new look line-up in 1981. A series of strong selling albums introduced the band to a wider audience. They appeared in the US Top 12 best-attended bands list in Performance magazine, while 1983’s Not Of This World sold in excess of a quarter of a million units. John Lawry replaced Slick on 1985’s Beat The System, and John Schlitt (b. 3 February 1950, Lincoln, Illinois, USA; ex-Head East) was recruited as the new lead vocalist on 1986’s Back To The Street. The band adopted a heavier direction thereafter, with Ronny Cates replacing Kelly on 1988’s On Fire! David Lichens (guitar) and Jim Cooper (keyboards) joined and departed in the mid-90s, while Lonnie Chapin (b. Oregon, USA; bass), Pete Orta (b. 26 August 1971, USA; lead guitar) and Kevin Brandow (guitar) played on God Fixation and Double Take, alongside long-standing members Weaver and Schlitt. Hartman is still part of the organization although he no longer tours, instead he prefers to take a role as writer and producer.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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