Walflower Complextion

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The Walflower Complextion [sic] were an average 1960s garage band. What was not average about them was that, even though they were American, they were formed, recorded, and performed in Bogota, Colombia.…
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The Walflower Complextion [sic] were an average 1960s garage band. What was not average about them was that, even though they were American, they were formed, recorded, and performed in Bogota, Colombia. The five bandmembers, ranging in age from 14 to 17, were Americans attending high school in Bogota. Rock groups of any kind, let alone American ones, were rare in Colombia at this time. So despite their callow youth and primitive equipment, they were signed to Daro International Records after the label's president heard about them at a cocktail party.

The Walflower Complextion recorded two albums for Daro in their short lifetime, the first appearing in late 1966, the other a few months later in early 1967. In both performance and material, the LPs were quite similar to that mini-genre known among '60s collectors as "prep school" rock: vanity records, done by kids at private school, that were pressed in small quantities, pretty much just for the benefit of themselves, their family, and friends. Like almost all of those prep school LPs, the pair by the Walflower Complextion were populated by many cover versions, principally of British Invasion songs. Obviously they were huge fans of the Rolling Stones; their first album had four Stones covers, while the second had a couple of non-Stones originals that were nonetheless most likely learned from the Stones' covers of those items.

The Walflower Complextion's covers were either bordering-on-competent faithful renditions or sloppy, clunky readings that were utterly pointless given the availability of far-superior originals (or, for that matter, far-superior covers of those originals by other artists). While the originals were still quite raw, they were rather more interesting, if only for their eccentricity. "When I'm Far From You" has that morose, lethargic feel reminiscent of the Rolling Stones' early ballads, though the Walflower Complextion are even more lethargic. "From Head to Toe" is like an instrumental extrapolation of the hazy feeling of the Rolling Stones' "I Am Waiting." On that and other instrumentals like "Chris's B's," they move into a bizarre, druggy, modalish rave-up, like an amateurish Yardbirds going in and out of focus. At other points there's a surf-pre-Beatles instrumental influence. To vary the program on the second LP, and at the suggestion of the record label, they did a couple of rock versions of Colombian Cumbia folk songs, which were personal favorites of label boss Simon Daro. In other words, the Walflower Complextion records are strange but not that good.

The Walflower Complextion actually appeared on television in Colombia, whose TV facilities were so crude at that point that on one of them they were filmed by the first television video camera in the country. The albums were only distributed in Colombia, and the group broke up in June 1967. Both of the LPs were reissued on a double CD by Normal/Shadoks.