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All Music Guide:
Former singer with "e" and Petra rock bands.
Gregory Xavier Volz (born January 12, 1950) is a Christian rock singer. He is most noted for being the former lead singer of Petra from 1979 to 1985. He also fronted the reincarnated version of the band called Classic Petra from 2010 to 2012.
A self-taught musician by age 13, he started his own band called The Wombats. As he grew up, he went on to share the stage with the likes of Janis Joplin, Chicago and others. He formed a band called Gideon's Bible in Indianapolis. In 1970 he became a born-again Christian. Gideon's Bible fell apart and together with drummer David Eden, Volz formed a new Jesus music band called e Band. The only studio recordings from e can be found on the rock musical two-disc LP Because I Am released in 1973. Volz married Becky Britton on December 2, 1973, but ended up divorcing in the late 1990s. After e broke up in 1975 Volz moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he worked with legendary guitarist Phil Keaggy. He also performed the lead role in a rock stage musical called Ezekiel.
Volz was offered the lead singer position of REO Speedwagon in 1976 but declined due to his Christian faith. Six weeks later he was asked to participate in Petra's second album, Come and Join Us. Although at that time he participated as a guest singer on just three songs, founder/guitarist Bob Hartman (who, at that time, was sharing the lead-singing duties with co-founder/guitarist Greg Hough) offered Volz the full-time position.
His first full-time album with the band, Washes Whiter Than, came in 1979. Never Say Die (1981), More Power to Ya (1982), and Not of this World (1983) followed. Petra then changed sound slightly with new keyboard player John Lawry on 1985's Beat the System and reached the pinnacle of the Volz era. They played 285 dates to 500,000 people overall on the subsequent tour and resulted in a live album, Captured in Time and Space. At the beginning of 1985 Volz was beginning to feel the strain of the heavy performing schedule over the previous four years and his family life was suffering. Volz gave nine-months notice to his band mates that he would be leaving the band at the conclusion of the tour.
Volz took a year off to regroup, spend time with his family and write the material that would surface on his first solo album, The River is Rising, released in 1986 on Myrrh Records. He followed it with three other moderately successful albums. During this time, he toured with Joe English in a band called Pieces of Eight. Volz' tours drew in the 1,000 to 1,500 range during this time; a very respectable number for a contemporary Christian artist, but nowhere near the level he experienced at the end of his tenure with Petra. In 1995, Volz wrote music for and was featured in the Warren Chaney docudrama, America: A Call to Greatness.
Volz retired for some time in the mid-90s. During this time he dealt with the divorce from his long-time wife, Becky. He resurfaced in 1998 with a string of new albums released from that year on. On October 4, 2005 he re-joined Petra for the live recording of their last project, Petra Farewell. He joined the stage with current singer, John Schlitt, for a medley of ballads, and he followed it with a solo rendition of "Grave Robber", which was one of his hits with the band. During his career, Volz lent his voice to projects by many other artists.
In May 2010, a reunited version of Petra was formed with its 1984-85 lineup, under the name of Classic Petra. They released an album called Back to the Rock featuring new material and re-recordings of hits from that era.Fishwick, Marshall William; Browne, Ray Broadus (1987). The God pumpers: Religion in the Electronic Age. Bowling Green State University Popular Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-87972-399-8. Cusic, Don (2010). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music: Pop, Rock, and Worship. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 455. ISBN 978-0-313-34425-1. Profile, americamovie.org; accessed March 16, 2015.