The beginning of 3:16 is pretty interesting. This band has emerged from bad times or somewhat confusing times, times that at my age just seemed strange. I grew up in a Christian family and growing up in a Christian household isn't always easy. Most of the time your friends are not believers and don't really care about anything that has to do with church. I have always considered myself a Christian activist and I believe in speaking out for what I believe in. The first band I was ever in was a worship band at church called "Tierra Prometida" or "Promised Land." That band helped me understand that to have a team there must always be communication. It was a good experience for me and I will always remember that group.
After Promised Land was no more, I still wanted to keep going. I always had a different taste in music, one that is not really shared at a somewhat conservative church. So I had this idea of creating a band with explosive messages and music that would be off the hook. I knew that there would be people criticizing and even saying that we should not be able to play that kind of music at a church. All I needed was to find a group of people that would face that type of criticism straight on without looking back and thank God, I found just that.
3:16 was truly born in October of '99 at one of the camps I've been to. I had taken my acoustic guitar just 'cause I knew there would be times I would be bored and, as luck would have it, Diego also took his. Josh saw us playing and he wanted to learn a song that I was playing with Diego and I noticed that he was a fast learner. I asked him if he would be interested in joining this "little" band I was trying to start. He said yes right away. Angel was also at this camp and he knew how to play the drums, he just had always been really shy when it came to being on stage. We asked him anyway and he decided to give it a shot. Erik did not go to the camp but he was already in the plans. The Lord blessed us at that camp; 3:16 was born... and all was right with the world.
The first obstacle we had to face was that none of the guys, except for Angel, knew anything about playing an instrument. We had to practice and practice until we finally had our first song called "Oh Senor." That song has always had the distinction of being called the o.g. song. We set that song in a style we knew would have people saying, "Oh my God!" but that was okay. I've always wanted to revolutionize Christian music and if I'm gonna do it, first I have to start with my own church.
Now it's a year later and we have a lot more acceptance. People actually ask us when our next gig is. Our first gig was at Lynwood High School for a Battle of the Bands. Hello! we had never played before an audience other than our friends. The pressure and tension was great. To make things even worse, it was a really rough crowd. We were gonna go on third out of the five bands... we were sandwiched and feared that we were gonna be eaten alive. We really did not know what to expect. As we got ready to go on, the curtains were closed and I remember holding the mic in my hand and looking at it as if it were a mortal enemy ready to crush the life out of me. What if I said the wrong things or what if my voice cracked? We left the stage to pray and asked God to do with us as he wished. As we waited to be unleashed to the hapless crowd, we heard the MC call out "3:16" and to our amazement, we were met with thundering cheers! These people had no idea who we were but they were cheering anyway! The curtains opened and all I remembered was that we rocked the house down! They liked us and we took a very satisfying second place. First place was won by the house band. After that, we knew that we had something going on that could make an impact and that's what i've been wanting all along. From then on we have been playing at different places: churches, cafes, backyard gigs, festivals, and we were also invited back to Lynwood for an encore performance.
Sometime at the end of the year, Josh told us that he and his family were moving to Connecticut. At first, we were all shocked. We could not believe he was leaving. What were we to do? I remember our last practice together... we rocked like it was the biggest gig we ever had. His dad was waiting and wanted to leave but we kept saying, "one more, one more." When we finished, we knew it was time for him to leave. We all said our goodbyes and he left as if he was gonna see us the next day. We still keep in contact with him and he's doing all right and wouldn't you know it? He's trying to start a band over there. So what was 3:16 gonna do without a lead guitar player? Well, it just so happened that I have always had a passion for the guitar, but I never had the opportunity to play with 3:16. So I told them that I'd play and sing. Since then, I've been busting my butt to master doing both.
God also blessed us with a great manager who is a long friend of mine. Joanne Melgar is very dedicated and understands what we want. And the last person to join our big happy family is another long time friend of mine, Noel Martinez. If it wasn't for this guy, we wouldn't have this little CD that we have for sale and he's been working with Joanne on this web page. It has been a long year for 3:16, but no one ever said it would be easy. Thank you all for joining us on this wonderful adventure whose sole purpose is salvation.
- Frank Urzua