Totem

Totem

BandRockAlternative

Totem is a progressive/alternative rock trio based out of Madison, Wisconsin. We have diverse musical influences including guitar rock, progressive rock, art rock and the many faces of metal. Totem features signature vocals, melodic bass, virtuoso guitar work and stylistic percussion.

Biography

Rob Schredder Schreiber
Rob brings a unique guitar style born of progressive metal influences but recently transformed. Says Rob, “Marto came to me with this idea for a trio. I saw it as an interesting challenge and have found new ways to express myself through the guitar. The trio format allows us to use silence as a fourth member of the band, which gives us an extra dimension. When one of us drops out, everybody notices.” Influenced by Joe Satriani, Vivian Campbell, Alex Lifeson, and Joe Patrucci, Rob is a graduate of the Guitar Institute in New York. Rob is a veteran of the New York metal scene, having played with Alchemy X for 8 years in the Big Apple. Rob is back in his home state and looks forward to the road ahead. “I’m definitely wiser now, maybe more wary of motivations. Whereas before I was trying to get somewhere, now I know that making music is about satisfying yourself first, your inner soul.” Rob plays Ibanez 6 and 7-string guitars and has an unhealthy obsession with snomobiles.

Marto: Bass, keyboards and vocals
Marto began playing guitar which progressed into rock and metal and finally bass. “I found that when singing, the guitar has just a couple too many strings. The bass fit my persona and my fingers like a glove. My first bass was a Rickenbacker 4001 and playing it for the first time was an eye opener.” Marto’s musical influences include the likes of Rush, the Beatles, the Police, Tool, A7X and System of a Down. A graduate of the Minneapolis music scene, Marto came to Madison with a musical vision in mind. Says Marto, “There’s a high energy rhythmic structure to music today. For this album we wanted to bring some different vocal melodies and to that table. Rob and Phil have their own ideas, so we run at each other at high speed and smash our thoughts together like a musical supercollider. The subatomic particles that result are the music of Totem.” Marto plays Ibanez basses, likes to commune with nature and thinks a lot about traveling to other planets on fact-finding missions.

Phillip Haven: Drums and percussion
Even though he’d always wanted to play the drums, his grade school asked him to play trumpet instead. It wasn’t until Philip was in college that he finally got his first drumset and has since loved every minute of it.

"I've always felt that music, and drumming in particular should be both a personal experience and a sharing between myself and my audience... there really isn't anything better than connecting with people through your music."

Some of his favorite “pros” are Carter Beauford, Tim Alexander, Alex Van Halen and Ray Luzier. To keep it interesting for himself, Philip has been working lately on his stick tricks, hoping to become more interesting to watch as well as listen to.

"Of the group, I'm probably the one whose the most driven towards writing straight up music - stuff you could almost dance to. It works out well - in the end, we acheive a great balance between more complicated, 'musician's music', and simplier, plain old fun rock 'n roll."

An avid skier, Philip also dabbles in programming and has plans to eventually take over the world.

Lyrics

Primordial

Written By: Music and Lyrics by Totem

He can feel the ebb and flow
Of nervous tension
The sum of all the squares of the plane
Powered by the force of will
And set in motion,
The blood of ancient man, the DNA strand

He can feel the spark of life, the insurrection
The sum of all our fears, elevate
Powered by the entropy and set in motion,
The ordinary man is still a Man

Where there is rage, there is love
Where there is love, there is reason
Feed the source, feel it
Feel the primeval
Feel the force, feed it
Feel the primeval

Ventricular persistence. The tribal rhythm
In the heart of every man, syncopate
Cadence of the multitude, the voice of reason
Is not the voice of change
Do you want to change?

He can feel the primeval,
The aim within him
Rooted in the earth, eyes on the stars
He bears the burden of the ancients,
He can drop that bomb,
But can he leave it behind?

The Jester

Written By: Words and lyrics by Totem

Negotiate with circumstances
Standing still, I pause and wonder
Never sure to dance or watch
Negotiate with circumstances
Ignorant, the leader leaves himself
In the dark, the unconfessed fool
Above the flood
An ark built with ignorance
Alone again…no one to guide me

I feel for the world
Sometimes my vision gets blinded
I feel for the world
I see for the blind man
Hear for the deaf man
Feel for the jester
But play the Fool

I live for the dead man
Sin for the good man
Feel for the jester
But play the Fool

The lonely road becomes the only way
The broken stride, we lead ourselves astray
The lonely road becomes me
A broken heart becomes the only way
Negotiate with circumstances
Standing still, I pause and wonder
Fools today and fools tomorrow
Should we lead or should we follow?

Canticle

Written By: Music and Lyrics by Totem

Can’t you see what you are supposed to be?
You are both the killer and the seed
I am the king, the king of all who see
I am the end and the beginning you see

You fought to free us from the goose-step shackled feet
I’m choking on the fumes
Of your experiment in greed
I want to sleep the sleep where dreams decide
The fate of man
Where heart and mind collide

I am alive, I am aware
I am alive, I am aware

My mind is empty, my senses are all bare
My blood runs dark, the ashes burn
And the smoke clouds fill the air

The seas are empty, the forests are all bare
The rivers run dark, the waters burn
And the smoke clouds fill the air

I am alive, I am aware

Discography

Totem's debut CD was just released in 2006. Tracks can be heard on http://cdbaby.com/cd/totemrocks

Set List

Our set list is currently one hour and 15 minutes. We play the songs from our new release, as well as a few new songs and a few covers.