Monday, September 26

Petra Retires

Greetings. I'm not sure when the announcement was made about this, for my long time favorite Christian rock group, Petra, is retiring, after 33 years as a band.

Having only just read the press release about this, I'm not sure what to say right off. Any band that last longer than 20 or 25 years has either done really well and left a legacy, or has not done as well but managed to stay afloat. I would guess though that those that are really good and last for that long out number those that aren't.

Petra had a great impact on my life personally. My first Petra album on tape was "On Fire," and on CD was "Unseen Power." I came across Petra when I was just starting to get into music and beginning to develop a craving for rock; in other words, when I was 12 or 13. As much of a fan as I am, I've only been to two of their concerts, in 1989 and 1993, both times at the Six Flags Ampla Theater, and they kicked butt!

They've been a cool band, one that knew how to rock but also how to deliver a message without rocking out that hard. I wasn't really into the contemporary Christian scene in the late eighties and early nineties, composed of people like Wayne Watson, Sandy Patty, and others. I wanted to rock out, but there weren't a lot of Christian bands that really rocked, at that time. So I latched onto Petra almost immediately when I heard their music. And, looking back, I can see that Petra were real trail blazers in their style of music and for pushing the limits of what Christian music could sound like. I don't know this for a fact, but it would probably be fair to say that they influenced some of the other Christian rock groups that followed them in their methods.

I think my favorite album by Petra would be "Beyond Belief," boht in its music and the messages behind the songs. Its hard for me to pick favorites to begin with, but that would be right up there. Other good ones include: "Unseen Power," "On Fire," and "Wake Up Call."

Though I'm sad to see their music come to a close, their legacy will live on forever. Below you will find the official press release of their retirement, which can be found on Petra's official site. They have planned a farewell tour through the end of the year I believe, but no more after that.

So to Petra: "Farewell; you have greatly contributed, lead many to Christ in your music and really made some great rock tunes; and you will be missed."

Petra Retires
Christian Rock Pioneers Say Goodbye After 33 Strong Years
Nashville, TN - After 33 years of music and ministry, Christian rock pioneer PETRA will come to a close. December 2005 will mark the end to a ministry that
has boldly and consistently proclaimed the gospel in the United States and abroad. The decision to retire the band was mutual by all members.

"It has been a privilege and honor to represent our Savior and participate in His Great Commission. We have nothing but thanks to God for all He has done,"
says PETRA founder, guitarist and primary songwriter Bob Hartman.

"God used PETRA in my life in so many ways, as He did in so many other lives," says lead singer since 1986, John Schlitt. "I am truly thankful for having
been part of PETRA. We've had a good long run and have seen so much. We've seen God's hand at work in our music on every continent and in every language,"
he says.

The band has impacted generations of musicians and fans alike over the years with over seven million CDs sold, four Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards and an
induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. PETRA, initially formed in 1972 by Hartman on vocals and guitars, paved the way for the rock genre perhaps
more than any other in the Christian music industry. Though a rotating cast of musicians comprised PETRA's lineup over the years, the band is closing 2005
strong with over 20 albums to its credit, the latest being the 2003 Grammy-nominated Jekyll & Hyde.

At present, Schlitt and Hartman have made no immediate plans for the future.

"I'm not sure what the future will bring for me," says Schlitt, "but when God chooses to show us His will, then we just go in faith and walk in faith toward
Him. He has never let us down, and He never will."

There are currently talks of a live album or box set to release in the future. Final PETRA tours in the United States and Europe are in the planning stages.
There will be no further concerts booked after this year.

"PETRA has always been one of the biggest names in Christian rock," says Inpop Records President Wes Campbell. "PETRA's contributions to our industry are
innumerable, and the band was very instrumental in the beginning stages of newsboys career. We are honored to have supported PETRA in its ministry and
music," he says.

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