In 1966, Bolivia was governed by a dictatorship directed by the general René Barrientos, that had overthrown to the president Victor Peace Estenssoro and position aim to nationalist-popular revolution initiated in 1952 (MNR).
The population was mainly indigenous peasants, while powerful Bolivian Workers Union (VOC), with base in the mining workers ahead, took an iron opposition to the regime that in 1965 expelled from the country it’s Secretary-General, Juan Lechín Oquendo. Generalized disturbances over the country led to a State of Siege state.
In the interim, The Ñancahuazú Guerrilla or Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia (ELN) was a group of mainly Bolivian and Cuban guerrillas led by the guerilla leader Che Guevara active in Bolivian Cordillera Province from 1966 to 1967.
After returning from Congo’s revolution flop, the guerrilla was intended to work as a foco, a point of armed resistance to be used as a first step to overthrow the Bolivian government and create a socialist state. With no more than 50 members, the guerrilla successfully defeated several Bolivian patrols before it was wiped out by more than 2000 men and Che Guevara captured and summarily executed. (!)
Only five guerrillas managed to survive and fled to Chile. The CIA had been active in providing finances and training to the Bolivian military dictatorship in the 1960s.
Félix Rodríguez was a CIA officer on the team with the Bolivian Army that captured and shot Guevara on 9 October 1967. Months earlier, during his last public declaration to the Tricontinental Conference, Guevara wrote his own epitaph, stating:
‘Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this our battle cry may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons.’ (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967) / RIP Comandante!!
Let’s go to our artist:
Climax formed in 1968 after its members returned from a trip to America, where they had been almost a year, been influenced by the bands and rock movement of that time. José ‘Pepe’ Eguino and Javier Saldías had separated from the Blacks Birds, while drummer Alvaro Córdoba had also left his naive (beat) band Las Tortugas.
In late 1968 and early 1969, they recorded ‘Born To Be Wild’ Ep which included versions of songs by Steppenwolf, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. 1970, presents their second Ep, called ‘Born To Be Wild II’, in which Bob Hopkins, an American marine joins the band playing the harmonica and singing. These Ep includes their early compositions, ‘The Seeker’ and ‘Rhythm of Life’ successfully sung by Hopkins.
After extensive traveling the United States and Argentina, Climax launches in 1974 the most representative Lp: Gusano Mecnánico, one of the first concept albums and probably the greatest rock album of Bolivia. With ELP, King Crimson, Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra influences, it would also be the first full-length album from the band, released in a gatefold cover, based on M.C. Esher surreal etching ‘Relativity’, incorporating worms alluding the mechanization of the humanity.
Following the success of Gusano Mecánico, drummer Alvaro Cordero left the band. Although Eguino and Saldías tried to continue performing several shows with Nicolás Suárez (keyboards) and Felix Chavez (second guitarist), the band didn’t have the same success as the original formation. In subsequent years, there were several reunions, presenting the first formation in some festivals in the early ’90s and last in 2002. Other prominent Bolivian bands are Wara and Estrella de Marzo.
Let’s go to our album:
As well as with their Latin American brothers, the development of the Bolivian rock occurred during the ’60s with the Nueva Ola, and their covers inspired by artists from abroad, styles were more like beat and garage. At this era, bands like Loving’s Dark, Los Grillos, Bonny Boy Hots, and Los Dhag Dhags stood out at juveniles clubs.
Then in the ’70s, a more mature scene unfolds with brilliant acts like Wara, Climax and Estrella de Marzo, mixing folklore rhythms with psychedelia and prog rock. A good chance to know the first phase of the Bolivian rock it’s a compilation of Discos Del Condor called Revolución Psicofásica from 2011, check it out!
There’s a slight jazz bent, crazed instrumental jamming, with fuzzy/freaky guitar solos played Avant style like Fripp, aggressive vocals and a tireless MONSTER drummer. Ranging from Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson these guys are no joke!
I was surprised with its technical ability, it’s not often common to see a power trio as solid as them, especially in Latin American bands, a pleasant surprise mis amigos.
The ‘IM’ highlights are Transfusión de Luz and Cristales Soñadores.
A1 Pachacutec (Rey de Oro)
A2 Transfusión de Luz
A3 Cuerpo Eléctrico – Embrión de Reencarnación
B1 Gusano Mecánico (Invasión, Dominio y Abandono)
B2 Prana (Energia Vital)
B3 Cristales Soñadores
- Bass, Vocals, Lyrics: Javier Saldías
- Drums, Percussion: Alvaro Córdoba
- Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals: Jose A. Eguino
- Composed, Arranged, Performer: Climax
- Engineer: Wálter Santa Cruz
Recorded during 1974 at Estudios ‘LYRA’ La Paz – Bolivia.
Lyra MR Simbolo de Calidad, Serie Exito.
Lyra – LPE – 3067 (Discolandia)