Cold Blood (band)

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Lydia Pense and Cold Blood
Origin Oakland, California
Genres Rock, Urban contemporary, Blue-eyed soul
Years active 1969–present
Labels San Francisco/Atlantic (1969); Reprise (1972); Warner Bros. Records (1974); ABC (1976); Dig Music (2005)
Associated acts Tower of Power, Sons of Champlin, Donny Hathaway
Members Lydia Pense
Steve Salinas
Steve Dunne
Mike Morgan
Evan Palmerston
Rich Armstrong
Rob Zuckerman
Donny Baldwin
Past members Larry Field
Danny Hull
Larry Jonutz
Pat O'Hara
Raul Matute
Jerry Jonutz
David Padron
Rod Ellicott
Frank Davis
Sandy McKee
Alex Sarmiento

Cold Blood is a long-standing soul-rock-jazz band founded by Larry Field in 1968 and originally based in the San Francisco East Bay area. They have also performed and recorded under the name "Lydia Pense and Cold Blood", due to the popularity of their lead singer, Lydia Pense.


The band first came to prominence in 1969 when rock impresario Bill Graham signed them after an audition and they played the Fillmore West in San Francisco. Pense has been compared to Janis Joplin, and it was Joplin who recommended the audition to Graham.

The band has often been compared to another long-standing popular Northern California group, Tower of Power, and like Tower of Power they were rare in that they featured a horn section in addition to guitar, keyboards (usually featuring a Hammond organ and Leslie speaker), bass and drums. The Tower of Power horn players have performed with Cold Blood on a regular basis since the early 1970s. Skip Mesquite and Mic Gillette have been members of both Tower of Power and Cold Blood. Their fan base also overlaps with the Sons of Champlin, although their musical styles are quite different.

Their initial four albums, Cold Blood (produced by David Rubinson), Sisyphus (produced by Fred Catero), First Taste of Sin (produced by Donny Hathaway), and Thriller (produced by David Rubinson) remain their best known work. The band disbanded in the late 1970s, reformed in the 1980s and stabilized with its current membership in the 1990s. Cold Blood continues to record and perform today, and some former band members such as Raul Matute (and some from Tower of Power) appear on the band's most recent album.

Original band members were founder Larry Field (lead guitar), Lydia Pense (vocals), Danny Hull (tenor saxophone and songwriter), Larry Jonutz (trumpet; born Mar 15 1947), Pat O'Hara (trombone; born May 25, 1946 (?), died August 1977 of an overdose), Raul Matute (Hammond organ, piano, arranger and songwriter, born Feb 19 1946), Jerry Jonutz (baritone, alto and tenor saxophone; born Mar 15 1947), David Padron (trumpet; born May 4 1946), Rod Ellicott (bass), and Frank Davis, who was replaced on drums by Sandy McKee (real name Cecil James Stoltie, born 12 July 1945, died 15 October 1995) during the Sisyphus sessions. Narada Michael Walden and Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett both mention McKee on their short list of drummers most influential in their stylistic development.

Over the years there have been various incarnations of the band including singer/trumpet player Max Haskett (born 7 March 1947, died 15 September 1999, ex-Rubicon), Tower of Power horn player Mic Gillette, Journey keyboardist Stevie "Keys" Roseman on Hammond B-3 organ, Sons Of Champlin drummer Jim Preston, Starship Drummer T Moran guitar player Michael Sasaki (born Apr 3 1952), Tower of Power guitarist Jeff Tamelier, Boz Scaggs horn player Tom Poole, Elvin Bishop sax player Bill Slais, bass player Michael White & others.

Current personnel are Lydia Pense (vocals), Steve Salinas (keyboards), Steve Dunne (guitar), Mike Morgan (percussion), Evan Palmerston (bass), Rich Armstrong (trumpet, cornet, percussion), Rob Zuckerman (alto, tenor, baritone saxes, and flute) and Donny Baldwin (drums).

Cold Blood is featured playing live in Fillmore, a documentary of the last concerts at the Fillmore West auditorium during July 1971.


Former members



  • Cold Blood (1969)
  • Sisyphus (1970)
  • First Taste of Sin (1972)
  • Thriller (1973)
  • Lydia (1974)
  • The Best of Cold Blood (1975)
  • Lydia Pense And Cold Blood (1976)
  • Vintage Blood: Live! 1973 (live album, 2001)
  • Transfusion (2005)
  • Lydia Pense & Cold Blood:Live Blood (live album, 2008)
  • Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, "The River City Sessions" (2011)
  • Lydia Pense & Cold Blood, "Soul Of The Gypsy" (2015)


  • "You Got Me Hummin'" (1970, #52 Pop)
  • "Too Many People" (1970, #107 'Bubbling Under' chart)
  • "I'm a Good Woman" (1970, #125 'Bubbling Under' chart)

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