While some students watch Netflix, sleep in, or party on the weekends, senior Benjamin Muniz can be found tearing up venues with his rock band: 3 Exits to Hattiesburg.

The band started in a humble in-home study, and is now onto bigger stages, gaining fans and recognition in the process.

Muniz has been playing music since his pampers days, but the group is relatively fresh. The lead singer originally organized his first group, named “Bad Habits”, in order to participate in the IWA talent show.

“I thought I should do something for the talent show. I started off with [Bad Habits] but it wasn’t really going anywhere special.”

Benjamin Muniz, front-man of 3 Exits to Hattiesburg

The show was a success, but Benjamin wanted more. He looked to the future. After a quick phone call, Muniz enlisted the help of childhood friend and drummer Adam Rogers, and thus began the 3 Exits era.

With several contests and small shows under their belt, 3 Exits had a new problem – they needed a bassist. Benjamin turned again to another childhood friend, Enrique Dapretta. “We’ve known each other since third grade,” said Benjamin. “I just texted him and he was ready to go.”

3 Exits bounced from show to show, playing almost every weekend. These busy shows were initially filled with mostly cover songs, however, as the venues got bigger and more demanding, they had to get a little creative.

The maturation of 3 Exits from covers to original songs was out of necessity. Many of the venues 3 Exits began playing required exclusively original content. Many venues do this to avoid legal problems concerning royalties and such.

“We started playing this place called Super Happy Fun Land, and they don’t allow covers. I had to start putting more originals into the mix and started getting more confident with my song writing at that point.”

Benjamin Muniz, front-man of 3 Exits to Hattiesburg

With his newfound stage presence it was up to Benjamin to create his own persona as well. First, Muniz took a Green Day presence like Billie Joe Armstrong, but that wasn’t cutting it.

“I started listening to a lot of Nirvana,” said Muniz. “I started more screaming things and trying to care less about how I looked onstage. A lot of these things I’m willing to do because it’s something Kurt Cobain would do.”

From left to right: Adam Rogers, Benjamin Muniz, and Enrique Dapretta.

Recently, 3 Exits to Hattiesburg had the biggest success of their career so far. On December 3rd, 2016, the band pioneered the first-ever “3 Exits Fest.” Their very own music festival was held at Pilot Theatre off Navigation Boulevard in the eclectic heart of East Downtown.

The festival featured several local bands: Sunday Morning Detox, Zegovia, and Minus Ben played leading up to 3 Exits themselves. Along with the great exposure that the event earned them, 3 Exits also saw this as a money-making opportunity. Tickets went for ten bucks, and the band also took the opportunity to sell merch as well.

Given all of their early live success, many 3 Exits fans are wondering what it is going to lead up to. Fortunately, Benjamin dropped some hints at an upcoming album. “We hope to have it done by the end of the school year,” said Muniz. “No promises though.”

With the band members heading to college in a few months, the future of 3 Exits is uncertain. “It’s really tough to know where 3 Exits to Hattiesburg will be in a few years. We started making music just to have something to do and in one year we’ve gotten further than any of us expected to go. Though we’re all going to different colleges in different parts of the country, Adam, Enrique, and I have been friends since we were 9 and we don’t expect that to change. As for the band, we’re really just along for the ride, and we’re excited to see what’s next,” Muniz said.

Whatever the rest of the road holds for 3 Exits, the band represents the accumulation of Muniz’s lifelong love in music.

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Sam Nordloh is a Senior at St. Thomas. Sam takes pride in his title as Student Life Editor and rap name "Young Rat." Sam can be seen flippin totinos pizza rolls in the kitchen, talking to ladies, or kickin the bass in his moms Honda Civic. Sam hopes to attend Texas State University but if he doesn't get in, Yale is his safe school.

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