For some families, summer vacation means homemade ice pops and trips to the zoo. For the Centeno family, it means taking the band out on tour. New Jersey's Rock N' Roll Hi-Fives is a four-piece alternative/glam rock band made up of husband Joe on guitar, wife Gloree on bass, and their two children. Son Evren, 11, plays drums, and daughter Eilee, 13, sings lead. The band, who call themselves "Jersey's hardest-rocking family band," recently released a new EP, Gold Glitter Shoes, on Bandcamp, a follow-up to last year's Make It Happen EP.
With lyrics like "I know I don't wanna grow up" and "I can't sleep... gonna stay up all night," Eilee lets her B-52's-style tone fly atop her family's '90s-esque instrumentals. Now, with three South Florida shows, the Rock N' Roll Hi-Fives are taking their RV to uncharted territory.
Joe told New Times, "When Gloree and I first had a child, I was like, 'Oh cool, family band!' The child was born, and I was like, [laughs] 'She can't play anything!' The time came about when I bought a drum set for my son and he started playing and had natural timing, and I said, 'Wow, maybe this band thing can happen.'?"
The band's sound, Eilee says, is "a little pop, because the lyrics and choruses are catchy, but there's a little rock in there." She's influenced by David Lee Roth "and his attitude," as well as by Tom Petty and the Beatles.
She started singing when she was 2 or 3. "Obviously, I wasn't that good," she says. "It was just for fun. I started off trying to play the drums, and I was horrible. I could not keep time. I had always wanted to sing and be a frontwoman. I didn't have any lessons. When I got to, like, 10, Mom and Dad signed me up for lessons, and I didn't like it at all. My teacher was supernice, but she was always making me sing Broadway songs, which I don't mind, but it was just, like, really high and falsetto, and I didn't like that at all — it just didn't feel like me. So I guess I somewhat have vocal training, but everything else is me."
She writes 85 percent of the lyrics. Says her dad: "I just try to give her inspiration or pull the thought out of her. I just try to guide it out of her like an English teacher. As a performer, I want Eilee to feel and believe in what she's singing. If I gave her everything, it wouldn't be her."
"Plus," says Eilee, "it would be harder to memorize the lyrics."
The Rock n Roll Hi Fives perform at Radio-Active Records, 845 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 on Friday, July 17 at 7 p.m., Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137 on Saturday, July 18 at 7 p.m. and Undergrounds Coffeehaus, 3020 N Federal Hwy #5a, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306 on Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m. All shows are free.