Best known for their butt kicking re-make
of Baby Got Back, The Grand Skeem is a favorite among the females. Comprised of Ali Dee (vocals), Vinni Alferi
(lead guitar), Donato Paternostro (drums), and
Steve Ruchelman (bass), the group blends punk, rock, and rap for a unique
sound. While they keep busy by touring with the likes of Avril Lavigne and
The Calling, The Grand Skeem always makes time for their fans. We called
them on it... like literally. We wanted to give one lucky lady a shot at
interviewing the group. They agreed. Hundreds
of contest entries poured in from Skeemers around the world. However, we
could only choose one. Ultimately, it was April from Michigan's introspective
question that won us over: "What do you see when you look in the mirror --
on the surface and deep down inside?" We gave April the chance to ask The
Grand Skeem's Ali Dee, on behalf of Skeemers everywhere. Let's find out what
he had to say...
[The dial tone... ring, ring...]
April, our contest winner:
Ali from The Grand Skeem: April? What's up? What are you doing?
Ali: It's Ali from The Grand Skeem.
April: Wohoo. I have my questions here.
Ali: She's well prepared. That's a good sign.
April: Okay. I love your music. I saw you in Michigan and got to meet
you all and took a picture and everything.
Ali: We'll be back there again soon. Gotta be. That was a hot show.
April: When you were a child, what did you want to become when you grew
Ali: Exactly what I'm doing now. I was that little kid who was dancing to
disco at family functions. I always knew I'd be an entertainer. I used to
take tap and theater. Then, I got into the whole music thing through dance.
I knew that's where it was at. I wanted to be on stage getting all nuts.
April: If you weren't in the band, what do you think you'd be
Ali: Wow. I don't really think about it. If I thought about it, it'd be an
option. It may not be the smartest thing in the world, but I don't have a
Plan B. It's Plan A: The Grand Skeem. Get out there and have hits and have
world Skeemers supporting what we do. This is it. This is all I'm doing.
April: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ali: Hopefully, maybe four or five albums deep. I want this record to sell
about 8 million. So, hopefully we'll be about 50 million records deep at
that point. Then, I don't know. I'd love to produce other bands and artists.
Believe it or not, we're in the studio now with O-Town. We did two joints
for them that are hot. You'll listen to them and be like, "Is that Nelly?"
It's crazy stuff. I love producing and writing. Maybe that.
April: Do you write any of your own songs?
Ali: Absolutely. We write everything. From the music to the lyrics to the
concepts. We're very involved in everything we do. We make our own postcards,
April: What inspired you to become a punk rock band?
Ali: I'm definitely more of the hip hop leaning side of it. When I hooked
up with Vinni, three years ago, he's more of the punk rocker -- the crazy,
lunatic guitar player that he is. Donato definitely has a rock vibe to him.
Steve definitely has the hip hop influence as well. It was a natural molding
of the styles. We all got along and wrote well together. That's how we came
up with this sound. It's not rap/metal. It's not even rap/rock. It's more
like if you took a Sum 41 or Blink and took away all the lyrics and made
it into a hip hop song. It's working for us. We don't take ourselves seriously.
Everybody's got problems. We just want to talk about all the good stuff.
April: What do you look for in a band member?
Ali: Just a vibe. Obviously, they have to play well.
April: Which of your songs do you
like the best?
Ali: I love It's Like That, Shorti, In & Out, Party Time... Yo Girl.
Seriously, I can't name just one. Even as we're writing more now, I always
like the new ones the best because they're the freshest.
April: What's your favorite place to tour?
Ali: Every place has it's own unique thing. Midland is all about mud. It
also stands out for us because we got the most responses on our web site
from that show.
April: How'd you come up with the name The Grand Skeem?
Ali: We were at this place called the Brooklyn Diner, which is a block from
our studio. We were hanging out trying to think of a name. It popped into
everybody's heads at one minute because we had Skeem looming around with
other names and Grand. It made perfect sense because we all "scheme" on how
to get to that next level. It also relates to how the band does things and
our mind set.
April: Are you all single?
Ali: Vinni's got a couple things on the side. I'm single. Donato is questionable.
He's on and off with a girl that he's got. Steve is single. It's tough to
have a steady girl doing what we do. Especially if they come to the shows
because they see all these fine girls hanging out going nuts. They don't
quite understand it.
April: What do you look for in a girl?
Ali: To me -- the look in the eyes. If you meet a girl, when you make eye
contact, is there that thing? Obviously, personality has to be off the radar
scope. Definitely has to be artistic. I don't know if that means they're
into acting or singing or drawing, but I'm definitely into artistic girls.
I can say that for pretty much everybody in the band. We have similar tastes,
which is funny too. It'll be like, "No. That's not yours. That's mine."
April: Who do you think will be the first band member to settle down and
start a family?
Ali: Probably me.
April: Really? Why?
Ali: The thought of it is appealing. Knowing that you have that one, you
don't have to worry about dating or trying to find a girl and wondering where
April: What do you do in your spare time?
Ali: There's no spare time. Which is okay. We love working. If and when there
is spare time, go and check a movie, Playstation 2... just to get my mind
off this for a minute.
April: If you could have one dream come true, what would that be?
Ali: Wow. You've got good questions. My dad has Chronic Progressive MS. Not
to sound depressing.... but I guess my dream would be for them to find a
cure for that disease and for my dad to be able to walk again so that he
could come to shows. He's only been to one of our shows. That's in my dream
category. Obviously, [it'd be cool] for the band to blow up and be huge.
I have a lot of dreams. We could be on for hours talking about my dreams.
But my pops -- that would be my number one dream come true.
April: What do you see when you look in the mirror -- on the surface and
deep down inside?
Ali: What do I see? I see a guy with spiked hair. On the surface, I see --
a happy go lucky, get the job down, smiling entertainer/singer/band/producer
type of guy. On the inside, just a dude trying to make it happen. Whatever
the challenge is, I'm up for it.
April: I talk about you to everybody. I tell my friends, "Oh my gawd.
Ali: Keep doing what you're doing. You're spreading the love for us. We don't
like calling the people who love what we do fans. To me, that diminishes
your part in what we do. 99% of bands forget that if it's not for you guys,
they're nothing. We take our Skeemers seriously. We go out of our way. If
you guys don't exist, we're nothing. I'll see you soon at the next show,
April: I'll be there.
Ali: Alright, girl. Bye!
[Click. Dial tone.]
Thanks to The Grand
Skeem for making one girl's dream come true... YOU ROCK!! Now, it's our turn:
Skeemers worldwide, be sure to request the group's second single, In
& Out. Also, check out their web site at
for more info on the