Gregory Xavier Volz (born January 12, 1950; age 72) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was the lead singer of Petra from 1979 to 1986. During his time with the band, Petra enjoyed their first wave of success, anchored by his clean vocal style and energetic performance.
In 1986, Volz left Petra to pursue a solo career. In the years that followed, he released a series of solo efforts, but never enjoyed the success he had with Petra. From 2010 to 2012, Volz reunited with Bob Hartman and other former members of the band to perform under the name of Classic Petra.
Volz was born on January 12, 1950 in Peoria, Illinois. He showed singing skills from an early age, and at 13 years old, started his own band called The Wombats. He then formed a band called Gideon's Bible.
In 1970, Volz became a born-again Christian, and together with drummer Dave Eden formed a band called simply e (or "e-Band"). The band was part of the Jesus Movement and they released their only studio album, Because I Am, in 1973.
e broke up in 1975, and Volz moved to Springfield, Missouri where he worked with Phil Keaggy.
In 1976, Volz was offered the lead singer position in the band REO Speedwagon. However, he declined due to his Christian faith. Six weeks later, he was approached to participate as guest singer in Petra's second album, Come and Join Us. Volz sung in three songs, including "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You".
Some time later, as the band suffered its first major line-up change, guitarist and founder Bob Hartman asked Volz to be the band's full-time singer. Volz, Hartman, and musician Rob Frazier recorded the album Washes Whiter Than in 1979, which was the first Petra album to feature Volz as the official lead singer.
Through the first half of the 1980's, Volz and Petra released four more albums, which propelled the band to stardom. Petra became the most successful Christian band as they enjoyed popular and critical praise from both Christian and secular audiences.
As touring began to take its toll on his family life, Volz decided to leave the band in 1985. He gave a 9-month notice to his bandmates that he would leave after the Beat the System Tour.
After leaving Petra, Volz took some time to regroup and spend time with his family. In 1986, he released his first solo album titled The River is Rising. For the next ten years, Volz released three more albums, while also touring with Joe English in a band called Pieces of Eight.
After a brief hiatus to deal with personal issues, he resurfaced in 1998 with another string of solo albums.
Reunited with Petra
In 2005, Volz was invited to re-join Petra for the recording of their final live album, Petra Farewell. Volz joined the band on stage at the middle of the show and performed a medley of ballads from his time (with John Schlitt in background vocals), and a solo rendition of "Grave Robber".
In 2010, Volz reunited with Bob Hartman and former Petra members John Lawry, Mark Kelly, and Louie Weaver to perform under the name of Classic Petra. The band released an album titled Back to the Rock that year. The next year, they released a live version of the album. Classic Petra toured North America and Europe from 2010 to 2012.
In 2016, Volz reunited with former Petra members Lawry, Weaver, and bassist Ronny Cates, along with guitarist Kirk Henderson, on a new project called CPR. The group released an album titled Back to the Rock II, which features new recordings of several Petra classics. When Cates left the band, Greg Bailey joined as bassist.
Volz married Becky Britton on December 2, 1973. They divorced in the mid-90's. Volz later married Pam Shuler. Volz has four children: Jonna, Ben, Heidi, and Heather.
- Come and Join Us (1977) as guest singer
- Washes Whiter Than (1979)
- Never Say Die (1981)
- More Power to Ya (1982)
- Not of this World (1983)
- Beat the System (1985)
- Captured in Time and Space (1986)
- Petra Farewell (2005) as guest singer
with Classic Petra
- Back to the Rock II (2016)
- Xavier (1982) a limited private pressing
- The River Is Rising (1986)
- Come Out Fighting (1988)
- No Room in the Middle (1989)
- The Exodus (1991)
- Break Out! Praise (1998)
- Let the Victors In! (1998)
- Ready or Not... Here He Comes! (1999)
- The Next Sphere (2001)
- In God's Presence (2005)
- No Greater Love (2006)
- God Only Knows (2009)
Greg X. Volz wrote the following Petra songs:
- "Without Him We Can Do Nothing" (1981)
- "Praise Ye the Lord" (1981)
- "Let Everything that Hath Breath" (1982)