Petra. What can I say? Petra was in my mind the standard of Christian Rock music for decades and now they are going away. At least that’s what I’m assuming since their latest album is called “Farewell.” I must preface this by saying I did no research before typing this. Though I never followed Petra, I am a little sad. My only dealings with their music are from their very first albums and then I lost interest after “This Means War.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Petra. If Petra came over for a visit, we’d have a great time with Guesstures or Uno Attack. But I never considered them for anything more than a casual acquaintance.
News of this breakup has made me rethink a lot of things. Well, Petra-related things. My feelings about it are akin to that one kid in school who seemed kind of okay and then you heard him crack a few jokes and thought he was cool and then you find out that his dad got a job transfer to Izekistan (or some country ending in –stan). I know I had over 20 years to listen to Petra but I guess I really didn’t want to based on the fact that I thought they’d always be around. Just like chicken noodle soup, you don’t want to have it all the time, but when you might need it, you know it’s there and never going away.
Do I have enough analogies for you?
Petra to me was the James Bond character of Christian music. If a band member or two wanted to move on, that’s okay, they’d find a replacement – they always did. I’m sure they had Sean Connery albums as well as their Timothy Daltons.
Complete overhauls in music do not work, but if you replace a band member every odd year, the blow isn’t as bad. I viewed Petra as an institution like “Saturday Night Live” except more entertaining and more respectable. Petra would not and could not go away, even if a record exec wanted it to. Buried in long legal contracts first penned in the 70’s, an unbreakable clause was unearthed that spelled the immortality of Petra.
“Oh no!” cried the record exec as he tried to push an off-color semi-Christian band under Petra’s budget – and Petra came out with another album that week and the record exec was punished for his ignorance.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t like that, but it should have been.
Even though I was not even a casual listener, I have been known to travel down the highway and spurt out “BEYOND BELIEF! BEYOND BELIEF!” where my wife would join in on the repeat after getting over the jolt of my first outburst. She’s cool like that.
Well, here’s to the rock that was Petra and all you have done and meant to countless people over the decades. More power to ya.