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The best kept secret in music


"Live Review"

Totem - Graffiti’s, 5/15/04
Totem met the challenge of being the one and only band this Saturday night by giving it their all and playing an impressive set. Members are Darron Degrate (vocals), Dave Utorka (guitar), Joey Grice (bass) and David Fyffe (drums). Always expressive, Darron, was especially so on “God Needs.” It was dedicated to their friend Chad McKinney, who passed away a month before from a drug overdose. Catch Totem playing around the Metroplex. (Linda Hollar) - Harder Beat Magazine

"The show must go on..."

In that vein, Totem played as the ONLY band at Graffiti’s on Saturday, May 15. After one band cancelled, Chris Mays told an out-of-town band, not to come, as he wanted to be fair to them. Totem gave it all they had… playing everything they knew, and drawing comments from the club about how professional they were. They’ll be back. - Harder Beat Magazine

"Totem - never a dull month"

Hopefully Totem’s dark cloud has finally lifted. Back in May, their bass player, Joey Grice, was diagnosed with skin cancer. He had surgery and has recovered. In June, while recording at Indian Trail Studios, a nearby tornado trapped Dave Utorka and engineer Alex Gerst. Then Dave tore some ligaments in his ankle while loading gear and had to wear a protective boot for six weeks. Next, a drunk driver hit Totem’s van after their show at the Aardvark. Finally, in July, David Fyffe (drums) was injured in a cycling accident, while training for the August 7th Tour de Pants sponsored by KTCK 1310 The Ticket. While on a training ride, he fell off his bike and sustained moderate injuries. Let’s hope August is much better for the band. - Harder Beat Magazine

"Cd Review In These Days"

Totem - In These Days, Recorded by Alex Gerst at Indian Trails
This five-song demo from local three-year veterans Totem yields a remarkably mature sound. With In These Days, Totem has managed to capture the elusive trifecta of modern metal - it is heavy, fresh and utterly marketable.
Vocalist Darron Degrate evokes modern heroes like Godsmack, while guitarist David Utorka’s meaty, staccato riffs maintain the melody without losing the heavy edge. Bassist Joey Grice and drummer David Fyffe form an explosive rhythm section that keeps the songs churning and powerful.
Tracks like the title track, “Blame” and the highlight, “Watershed Of Tears,” provide ample evidence that Totem have arrived. Check them out at the CD Release party on Oct. 9 at Division One in Arlington. (Kevin White)
- Harder Beat Magazine

"Totem - Local Buzz"

Congrats to Totem, who’s been featured on Sports Talk USA 990 A.M. Show host Coach David Ross has played all five cuts from their newly released CD, In These Days (see review this issue) for three consecutive weeks in a row. The show is on Sunday nights from 7:30 – 9:30 PM. The band also made an in-studio appearance with Coach Ross on Oct. 3 to talk about the new release and touring plans. Totem is now working with Ross on some future projects, including appearances on his new nationally televised show on ESPN. The band will be touring to promote their CD through 2005.
- Harder Beat MAgazine

"TOTEM - Feature Story"

Dallas-based hard rockers Totem are ready to take their game to a new level. The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity and exposure for these local scene veterans, and with good reason.

The band’s first release, a hard-hitting EP called In These Days, is making people take notice, as is their raucous stage presence. Vocalist Darron Degrate, guitarist David Utorka, bassist Joey Grice and drummer David Fyffe’s infectious blend of melody and iron-fisted metal is forcing its way into the eyes and ears of people beyond local music fare.

In recent weeks, Totem has been featured extensively on the Coach Ross Show on Sports Talk USA 990 A.M. (Sundays 7:30 – 9:30 PM). Through a mutual friend, host David Ross got the group’s CD and immediately liked what he heard. In addition to playing all five cuts on the air, he also had them in-studio for a half-hour interview on Oct. 3. As a result, Totem now has future projects in the works with Ross, including appearances on his new nationally televised show on ESPN.

Totem has also been busy playing live all over the metroplex, including a recent performance at the Hard Rock Café. The group plans to continue touring in support of the record through the first part of 2005, before hitting the studio for their first full-length.

The band prides itself on its live performances, and in being staunch supporters of the local scene. Come show your support and see what the buzz is all about on Nov. 6 at Bronco’s, Dec. 4 at Monte Carlo’s or New Year’s Eve at Dreamworld. Check out the band’s website,, for music, news and more info.

By Kevin White - Harder Beat Nov. 2004


Watersherd of Tears - Single 2004
In These Days.... 5 song EP released Nov 2004
All 5 tracks have streaming and radio airplay


Feeling a bit camera shy


Voted the best performance band (Hard Rock, 2004) Totem has gained respect and popularity at premier venues in the area such as The Hard Rock Cafe, The Aardvark, Galaxy Club, and The Ridglea Theater among many others. Band has won multiple contests and is attracting industry-wide attention. Heavy and introspective songwriting champion the way ahead of Totem. There are bands and musicians that have had strong influences over the years on individual members of Totem, yet it is the quality and the complexity of original material, and a fusion of unique sound that propels original writing of the band. Among many influences the band draws its inspiration from Jimmy Hendrix, Dimebag Darrel, Neil Peart, Adam Jones and Danny Carey of Tool, Ozzy Osbourne, and James Hetfield among a number of other talented songwriters, musicians and friends. Currently the band has finished up their 5 song EP In These Days...recorded at the famed Indian Trail Studios and produced by Alex Gerst (Voted Best Dallas Producer 1999 - 2004). Having wrapped up their 2004 tour to rave radio/print media and fan reviews, the band is currently working on music for a nationally televised TV show on ESPN, starring Michael Irvin (D. Cowboys), is a house band on 990 AM Sports Talk USA, was featured on the cover of the Harder Beat Magazine, and is undergoing a number of other development projects. Totem is booking dates for Spring/ Summer of 2005 at this time. Totem is set apart not only by the quality of their songwriting and performances, but by reputation for their professionalism, as well as respect toward others in the music industry.