The statement, spoken almost with a level of relief, makes sense after hearing Schlitt talk about how good it feels to get back to the rock sound that put Petra on the map. “With previous records, we were always trying to fit inside of some pocket [the record label] felt we were supposed to fit in,” he explains. “That messed Bob up, I could tell. He was never happy with the end results. He tried really hard and did his best. Personally, I think we had some great stuff, but just not necessarily for what we are.”

And with the return to its earlier sound, original touring member Hartman, after seven years spent focusing on his family, is again going on the road as the lead guitar player for the band. In fact, Hartman says it’s going to be a very stripped down, rock ‘n’ roll sound for the guys, with Schlitt handling lead vocals, Hartman on guitar and a couple of hired guns on bass and drums.

So does this 30-year-old rock outfit still have something to say? After talking about the new CD, Schlitt unwittingly answers this question with the wisdom and conviction that comes with years of experience and time spent on his knees,  “Six months before Bob called me to join Petra, I was struggling with my past. I wrote a song called ‘Don’t Look Back’ [which later showed up on his solo record]. The whole point is that you’re never going to be good enough on your own to be used of Christ,” Schlitt admits. “You can’t do it. You’ll never be clean enough, or you’ll never be perfect. You never will be perfect, and you will fail. But because of Jesus’ blood you can go forward and not let the enemy steal that opportunity away it’s not a matter of, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t do this because I’ve done all this garbage and I feel so bad.’ That’s the enemy because you can be a tool — maybe a dirty tool, but God doesn’t see the dirt. He only sees the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Petra on Grammy Awards (They’ve won four.)

John: We’re just blessed. I think a lot of the Grammy’s is name recognition.
Bob: Not so much individual work. A lot of people vote who don’t know much about Christian music. So when they look down the list, they look for names they know.
John: Basically, what it says is that our name is more recognizable than just about anyone else’s.
Bob: And they make great bookends. I was happy to get the fourth one.
John: Then you have two sets of bookends!

Petra on Dove Awards (They’ve won 10.)

Bob: I’ve got one Dove.
John: I’ve got one Dove, too.
Bob: Where are they? I don’t know if we ever got our Doves. They say they’re giving them to us. But we never got them. I never got my Doves.


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