Cold Blood is one of the original R&B horn bands from the late 60's/ early 70's that exemplified the East Bay Grease melding of funk & rock with blues and jazz elements. Lydia Pense has been compared to Janis Joplin, but is a true original and a pioneer in the women's rock movement. Lydia Pense and Cold Blood packed the San Francisco Ballrooms in their heyday, but that was then and this is now. In the now, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood still fill halls with cheering, dancing, foot-stomping fans. Far from fading over the years, Cold Blood has flourished.
The word legend certainly applies to Lydia Pense and Cold Blood…and not in some past tense-make-a-living-as-an-oldies-act sort of way either. Pense can still shout like a 60's soul diva and purr a slow blues tune with spine-tingling subtlety. Cold Blood, as a whole, features a stellar group of musicians who have been playing together for nearly 20 years including Steve Dunne on guitar, Steve Salinas on keyboards, a gritty-growling horn section comprised of Rich Armstrong and Rob Zuckerman along with a stellar rhythm section featuring Evan Palmerston on bass and Donny Baldwin on drums. The band members are all veteran Bay Area musicians who have played with many great artists including Elvin Bishop, Jefferson Starship, Boz Skaggs, Albert Collins and more. Of course there is Lydia who still has the chops with the patina of a seasoned veteran who's done and seen it all. Together she and the band continue to twist together R&B, (both Old School and New School); into something that doesn't have a label... On any given night, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood power through their historic essentials, like "You Got Me Hummin'," "I Just Want To Make Love To You," "I'm A Good Woman," and "Down to the Bone." In 2005 the band released “Transfusion” a whole new CD of future classics that draws on their heritage but is not stifled by the past. In September of 2011 the band has released “The River City Sessions”, a 5 song EP. Now able to draw from the first two new Cold Blood albums in three decades, Lydia and the band blast out a set that covers 40 years of thumping, throbbing, East Bay funk. Several of the tracks that make it on to the set list each night come from original Cold Blood alum Skip Mesquite. Another tune of particular note, "Face the Music," is written by guitar ace Steve Dunne. All this fresh music, laid down by a crisp, tight 6-piece, makes any Cold Blood show invigorating. And, of course, anything Lydia sings is sung well. She has a list of famous admirers that includes Bonnie Raitt, Michelle Shocked, David Lee Roth, even Janis Joplin back in the day.
It's been a long road, over 40 years to be exact with a break somewhere in the middle. But, Lydia and the band are living proof that a little time off can be a really good thing. With their new CD, “The River City Sessions” turning heads across the country, fans are remembering just what has been missing from music in the last few decades. These songs exemplify how a performer can take great strides forward, without forgetting her roots. Cold Blood is booking dozens of shows across the country, entertaining generations of club, theatre and festival goers.
Cold Blood has been blessed with the ability to reach backwards for original influences and the creativity to reach forward, working with new approaches. The music they play is ageless, and can still fill any room to the rafters.
Lydia Pense - Vocalist
Steve Dunne - Lead Guitar & Vocals
Donny Baldwin - Drums & Vocals
Steve Salinas - Keyboards & Vocals
Rich Armstrong - Trumpet, Percussion & Vocals
Rob Zuckerman - Saxophone
Evan Palmerston - Bass & Vocals