Circleslide’s Gabe Martinez

If people hadn’t suggested he lead worship, he might have overlooked
his musical talent. Instead of helping form Circleslide, frontman and
guitarist Gabe Martinez might have simply been washing dishes.
Why dishes?
“I wanted to do whatever it was that God wanted me to do. I went on
the mission field, I was in YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and was going
on different trips to El Salvador and Russia. I felt like God placed
missions on my heart and when I came home… I just wanted to do
whatever God wanted and if that meant being a dishwasher, I would. I
told my girlfriend I was with at the time that I was going to be a
dishwasher for God,” Martinez said, laughing.
Suddenly, the couple’s promising bright future together was decidedly
“She broke up with me saying that wasn’t what she had in mind,”
Martinez said, laughing again.
Dishwashing wasn’t in his future, thankfully, and he later married
another girl, Debbie, who shared his enthusiasm and passion for
missions. Debbie currently serves as Circleslide’s manager.
God used Martinez’s passion for the lost and missions, by showing him
how to use the skills he learned on the mission field in his music
career to reach the lost with the message of Jesus Christ.
“I went on these trips to El Salvador and Russia and started leading
worship for different outreaches. We would be on these outreaches,
ministering to all these people, but when we came home, the music
would only stay in church. I wanted to take the music to the secular
environment, too.”
So, Martinez stretched himself further than he had before. He started
taking his acoustic guitar and harmonica and playing in bars and
clubs, something often frowned upon in the Christian subculture.
“When I grew up, I was a pastor’s kid,” Martinez explained. “I kind
of rebelled around 17 and ran away from home. But, my parents still
continued to love me. I would see my dad in the weirdest places. I
would sneak into a bar to see a band play and he would be there,
watching. It was a risk for him as a pastor to be there. But, I
think, he was just trying to let me know he still loved me,” Martinez
It took Dad’s invitation to come with him and attend a worship
service before Martinez found what had eluded him for months — God’s
grace and forgiveness. Ready to stop running away, Martinez accepted
his dad’s open invitation to come back home.
“I think it was just a response to the love and forgiveness from God.
I had fallen, and now I knew what it meant to stray so far and hurt
the people you love most and still have them accept you. It was a
huge thing for me and I felt a response would be `God, what do You
want me to do?'” he said.
It was a new beginning for the high school graduate, a turning point.
No longer walking the streets destined toward an unclear future,
Martinez now had a clear purpose. He was filled with a passion for
serving God.
“I was in a band (before YWAM), left the band, and then joined a
mission group. I was kind of like, `God, I am going to lay down music
upon your altar and if I never touch an instrument again, it’s fine
with me.'”
But God didn’t want Martinez to stop playing his music.
“People kept telling me, `You need to lead worship,’ and I’d sing a
song in my youth group and my church and that was how it all started.
I started stretching myself (after YWAM), playing in bars and clubs
on the weekends with my acoustic guitar. Some of the other guys
started helping me, Fred (Mandrijano), our drummer, Aaron (Gillies,
guitarist, who also plays Wurlitzer and piano) and Tim (Martinez), my
brother (bass guitarist), and together we formed Circleslide.
The San-Antonio based band, whose members now call Nashville home,
took its name from an album The Choir produced, entitled “Circle
“They let us use the name. We are huge fans of The Choir. Getting to
work with The Choir’s founder, Steve Hindalong, was a dream come true
for the band because we got to work with our hero, and it’s a little
intimidating going into the studio with your hero. But, Marc Byrd put
us at ease, hooked us up with Steve and was basically championing the
band. He was very encouraging to the band when we were kind of a new
group. He helped us with guitar sounds, trying new vocal things and
being real experimental,” Martinez said, of the band’s 1999
Influenced by Radiohead, U2, and lyrically by the late Rich Mullins,
Martinez has seen changes for the good following a win at the 2003
GMA’s “Music In The Rockies” competition.
“We find it very intimidating (being a new band in Christian music).
We didn’t know what to expect, but everyone in the Christian music
industry and in Nashville has been gracious,” Martinez said.
Martinez and the rest of the band members found grace in uncommon
times and even uncommon days. With violence becoming more prevalent
on a daily basis in this world, members of Circleslide find
themselves living in uncommon days. These uncommon days are not only,
perhaps, a surer sign of turbulent times, but also a seemingly
fitting title for the four-member band’s fourth album, “Uncommon
Days,” which will be released in the spring of 2006 by Centricity
After releasing two independent albums, “Through the Thorns”
and “Ten,” the band released “Connectology” with Centricity Records
in 2004. “Uncommon Days” will be the second album the band has
produced that’s being released through Centricity Records.
The band gives new meaning and hope to the term, “Uncommon Days,”
through their efforts to cast a ray of hope in a world of darkness,
filled with negativity, despair and well, uncommon days.
Their “Uncommon Days” disc’s focus is on hope and what is most
important to them in these uncommon days — worship.
“We felt like music can be a vertical worship with God, but also be
personal. It is something people respond and relate to in the secular
world as well. People have been hurt both in the church and anywhere
else. Touring for five years has been worth it to me. We see people
coming to Christ, getting involved with missions…it is a huge thing
for us to see young people get beyond their comfort zones. Sometimes,
I think that is what’s missing in Christianity. We should stand and
look at the least around us,” Martinez said.
Seeing the hurt in and outside the church, Martinez and the rest of
his bandmates try to practice what they advocate, standing for the
least. They try to reach out to those in need with compassion, even
when they feel the hurt the deepest.
“One song, `Get Up,’ I wrote when we were in the studio meeting all
our heroes, while friends were hurting. Some had gone through deaths
in the family…divorces all around us. There was a lot of sadness. I
wanted to write a song to minister to those who were closest to me,
so the song “Get Up” was inspired by that…a voice that says `Don’t
Give Up!'” Martinez said.
Don’t Give Up—words that inspire this modern-day prodigal son. He
talks about his own wayward experience in the song, “Home.”
“I draw a lot from my past,” he said. “I draw from everything…life. I
try to anyway.”
In the end, it is only a passion for life and love and God alone that
drives Martinez. What drives the band?
“We try to do a song that’s fresh and it’s tough because rock-n-roll
has been around a long time. But hopefully, what we bring to
Christian music is something that is new and fresh. That’s what
drives us,” Martinez said.
While the band may be blazing an uncharted trail with their sound,
Martinez insists he isn’t about to throw out all the old, sacred
hymns in favor of newer, contemporary rewrites.

“The hymns, like `Be Thou My Vision’ or `How Great Thou Art,’ two of
my favorites, need to be sung. Sometimes the old language says things
in a way that just cannot be said in a more contemporary style. But,
sometimes, old hymns need to be re-interpreted so a whole new
generation can hear them. I think the Holy Spirit has a way of
reminding us what we need to remember, whether it be (through) hymns,
prayers, scriptures or sermons.”
Through “Uncommon Days” God reminds Circleslide, and anyone else
listening, to remember a key truth.
“God always uses someone to remind us of what’s right,” Martinez
said, softly.

Swag out with Christian Activities Merchandise!



Enjoy this website? Please spread the word :)