HIGH VOLTAGE ROCKERS AIM FOR THE STARS

The video for Six Volt’s ‘Girl Next Door’ features some locations that may be familiar to locals.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For the last few months, in a nondescript Red Bank rehearsal studio, a group of driven high school kids have been subtly plotting a takeover of the national teenage music scene. And there isn’t a doubt in any one of their minds that it will happen.

Think Miley Cyrus. Think Jonas Brothers.

But there’s something that separates Six Volt from those two mega-acts, says their manager, Granger Whitelaw.

“They’re not backed on stage with professional musicians,” says Whitelaw, also the father of guitarist Granger Whitelaw Jr. “This is a band of musicians who are extremely talented. These guys are so tight it’s unbelievable.”

six-volt-4Four out of five ain’t bad. Six Volt, minus guitar player Granger Whitelaw Jr., is shown here practicing at its Red Bank studio. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

The band’s chemistry and execution of power pop is hard to deny. Alumni of the Red Bank-heavy musical instruction programĀ Rockit For Kids, the five-piece outfit was formed in April by Whitelaw and a serious brain trust that’s been integral in the success of bands like The Click Five, Avril Lavigne and Vanessa Carlton.

With the help of a songwriting team, the band is putting together a record with a targeted September release, and the elements of a residence on the Top 40 are all there with songs like “Girl Next Door” and “Headset.

Check the videos and you might recognize some of the scenery, including Victory Park in Rumson. Whitelaw Jr., 13, is from Red Bank; 14-year-old drummer Ben Ley is from Rumson; guitarist Joe Cilento, 16, is an Ocean resident who goes to Red Bank Catholic High School; Jake Wood, 16, is the bassist and keyboardist and is from Wall; and 14-year-old front woman Brittany Guben hails from East Brunswick.

Guben, a tight ball of teenage energy, radiates confidence in the way she jumps around in front of her rhythm section and sings every note at practice with the same conviction that she might on a stage in front of thousands.

Wood is like the field general, plucking notes on the bass nonchalantly as he checks in with Ley to make sure their timing is in sync. And in the corner is Cilento, who, at 16, can work his way up and down a fretboard with a ferocity you’d expect from a seasoned veteran. Whitelaw Jr. was missing from the practice redbankgreen attended, but we’re told he’s got solid chops, as well.

What’s undeniable, though, is the amount of work these youngsters are putting into Six Volt. They practice at the Red Bank studio three times a week, recently played a benefit at Webster Hall in New York, and headlined another, Kids Helping Kids, to raise money for homeless children.

In between, band members still have to keep their grades up at school. Cilento says the band has adopted a motto from skateboarder Rob Dyrdek: “Do work.”

“That’s what we’re trying to be all about,” Cilento said.

The work will pay off. They just know it.

You can check out info on Six Volt, including bios, personal video clips, a Facebook fan page and just about every other social media tool out there at the band’s website.