» Bob Hartman - Petra
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- Interview by David, 26 November 2005

When mentioning christian hard rock, many of you would probably come to think of Stryper. But there is a band that has been around longer and probably meant much more for the scene - Petra. 33 years and over seven million albums sold! Now it is finished, since the band has decided to go out on a last tour together - a tour that will stretch out all over Europe, South- and North America. After Petra's last concert on Swedish ground I got a few minutes to talk to the founding member, guitarist and main songwriter of the band, Bob Hartman. It was a very tired Bob (with an even more tired tour manager stressing in the background), who still did not refuse to give yet another short interview before moving on again on the Farewell Tour.

Why did you choose to quit now?
- It is time. We have accomplished everything God intended us to do. It's time to move on!

What will you do instead?
- I don't know yet. I have been making some guitars earlier and I think I will continue with that. I will continue to write songs of course and hopefully I'll get to play from time to time as well.

It was a short comeback for you - you returned to the band just a couple of years ago…
- Yes, three years ago now. It was a great thing, to be away from the scene for seven years and still have a crowd to come back to.

Do you ever regret your decision to quit?
- No, no regrets. Of course it's sad. We really enjoy each others company and work well together musically.

Is there an opening for a reunion tour in the future?
- You should never say never. God can change our mission once again. I regret that Petra never got the chance to play in any of the former communist countries. We know we got a lot of fans there, underground Christian movements who spread our music among each other. But there has never been an opportunity to play there. If something comes up there, if someone says that I can get Petra over here, I think we will get together and do that.

What do you think about tonight's concert?
- It was really fun to see so many people so excited. That is truly rewarding! To hear that our music made a difference in people's lives.

Your last album Jekyll & Hyde was perhaps the hardest rocking one, how do you feel about it?
- Yes, people say that. I like it. We belong there, musically.

Did you ever consider following it up with another one in the same style?
- We thought about it but it never worked out. We thought about doing another Petra Praise album as well, but we found out that we didn't really want that either. When we decided to quit we rather wanted to do another live album. We ended the era with [original singer] Greg X. Volz with a live album. Now we wanted to do the same with John Schlitt. It was also a possibility to honor those who have worked with the band in the past and their talents, with the guest appearances from Greg and John Lawry on keyboards.

That was all my questions I think. Thanks for your time and for 33 years of great music!
- Oh, thank you! I'm starting to fade away here… [Bob smiles]

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