John Lawry (born June 15, 1950) is a Christian musician, composer, producer, and songwriter. He is most remembered for being the keyboardist of Christian rock band Petra during their most prolific years.
According to his personal testimony as recorded on Petra's Captured In Time and Space live album, John was born in Japan and was subsequently adopted by an American family from Michigan. Some sources cite John as having grown up in Flint, Michigan, others cite Millington, Michigan, but both cities are in the same general area of the state.
Lawry showed musical skills from an early age. When he was 9, he learned to play the accordion. When he grew up he went to Millington High School and was involved in the school band. He graduated in 1969 and continued working in music. Lawry contributed to several projects during the following years.
In 1982, he joined the Joe English Band and recorded three albums with them. He also recorded with the band Forerunner. In 1984 he joined Petra recording a total of nine albums with the band. During this period, the band won three Grammys and several other awards.
John was initially introduced to Petra fans while on the European dates of the Not of This World tour in August 1984. After completing the tour, Lawry had not fully committed to the band until told by Petra's European Road Manager that he was anointed to become a part of Petra. Lawry then stayed with Petra for the next 10 years.
John's first studio appearance with Petra was on their Beat the System album in 1984. While Petra had stocked a resident keyboardist (John Slick) for some time, Lawry's entrance into the band brought a new, more "modern" sound that would stay with the band for the entirety of Lawry's tenure.
In 1986, Lawry played a keyboard solo on Greg X. Volz (former Petra lead singer) first solo effort. He also released a solo album called Media Alert in 1990.
Lawry left Petra in 1994 to dedicate to a career producing and recording. He was replaced by his keyboard technician, Jim Cooper. He also released another solo album in 1997 titled Excursions.
In 2005, Lawry joined the stage again with Petra during one of the band's final presentations that was released as the Petra Farewell CD and DVD.
Lawry married his wife, Stefanie, and has two sons, Jeremy and Nick. Stefanie's voice was sampled for "Jesus Loves You".
Lawry, along with the "classic" 1980s Petra lineup (John Lawry, Greg X. Volz, Bob Hartman, Mark Kelly, and Louie Weaver) reformed in 2010 and went into the studio to record an album of rerecorded material, the first studio album together since 1985's Beat the System. They released an album entitled Back to the Rock and toured in the later part of 2010 and into 2011.
Is well known he is an avid user of Lync LN4 and LN1000 keytars during the Petra years. On the band's first live record, Captured in Time and Space, John took the stage with an impressive array of keyboards, organized into two stacks.
Stage Right (top to bottom):
Korg CX3 tonewheel organ,
Stage Left (top to bottom):
Fairlight CMI (used for his signature "Jesus Loves You" solo),
custom modified strap on ARP Axxe pre-MIDI controller