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|| News Item: Posted 2011-01-05

Blast From The Past

By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter Newsletter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

The TSA LAX Choir keyboard player Raul Matute also played in the '70s Bay Area band Cold Blood.
There wasn't much excitement growing up in Fresno in the late 60s and early 70s. It was before the "Red Wave" hit Fresno State basketball and prep sports back then was just prep sports. For my me and my good buddy Brad Shirakawa it was listening to music. But the "music scene" in Fresno consisted mostly of shows at the old Rainbow Ballroom by Ray Camacho & The Teardrops.

So we would buy record albums (those large round vinyl things with the small hole in the middle) listening to our favorite groups endlessly and go to concerts from time-to-time. One of those favs was a Bay Area group featuring a horn section and a petite woman lead singer with a big voice called Cold Blood. The singer, Lydia Pense, was often compared to Janis Joplin and Cold Blood cooked up a great mix of blues, jazz, funk and rock that unfortunately didn't take off nationally like Chicago Transit Authority (now Chicago) and Blood, Sweat & Tears, two other groups with horn sections.

I've been in journalism a long time. When something from the past creeps into my present it often makes me old ... like a couple of years ago shooting a portrait of Nick Montana and Trevor Gretzky whose fathers I had covered when they played in the NFL and NHL.

But when I ran into Cold Blood's keyboard player during a recent assignment at LAX, it did the opposite and it actually made me think about those great times in Fresno, those tight horn charts, funky bass lines and Lydia Pense's growling vocals...

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Photo by Robert Hanashiro

Lydia Pense was the petite woman with a big voice of Cold Blood.
I was working on a story on a TSA musical group at LAX, which performs at various terminals on a regular basis. Interviewing the group's musical director I asked him his name and he looked into the camera and said "Raul Matute" and began to spell it for me ... I stopped him and replied: "THE Raul Matute? The Raul Matute that played with Cold Blood in the 70s?"

He smiled broadly and said, "Cold Blood, that was my group man!"


We animatedly chatted about those times, the shows at Fresno's Selland Arena with the Elvin Bishop Group and Tower of Power, a couple of other groups we loved. Rual told me he had a similar experience recently when he was in a taxi in San Francisco on his way to play a benefit with fellow Cold Blood alums at The Filmore, the cabbie turned to him and said "Did you play in Cold Blood?"

Grayer, older, Matute still has a sparkle in his eyes, especially when I told him that Sisyphus (their second for Bill Graham's label) is a record I still play all of the time.

The TSA LAX Choir performed holiday tunes for the passengers hurrying off to their flights for Singapore, Australia, Amsterdam and Paris and for those just lounging around in the International Terminal food court. The "band" consisted of just Rual on a couple of keyboards and a dozen singers. The group was tight, professional and was thoroughly enjoyed performing, even though their "audience" seemed more concerned with getting their boarding passes.

As coincidence would have it, a few weeks before my chance meeting with Raul Matute, Brad sent me scans from a photo album I made for him some 35 years ago. Stuck among the 5 x 7s of Elvin Bishop, WAR, Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer were photos of Cold Blood!

Photo by

Miranda Sensorex EE
(Tech note: These were shot on my trusty Miranda Sensorex EE with a Soligor 135mm... now THAT really makes me feel old!)


* * *

The Sports Shooter Academy Lighting Luau filled all of the available spots within 10 days. We have started a waiting list and if things go as they have with the other workshops, there probably will be openings popping up down the road. I will be filling any openings from this waiting list, so if you still want to attend THE coolest lighting workshop of the year, go to the workshop's website for registration details.

Also note that Samy's is sponsoring an event being held in conjunction with the Lighting Luau on Friday April 22. That evening Robert Beck and Tim Mantaoni will be making presentations that will be open to the public. Advance reservations will be available... keep checking the workshop and Samy's Camera websites for details soon.

* * *

Since I wrote about Cold Blood, this month's listening recommendations are Cold Blood's First Taste of Sin and Fillmore: The Last Days, a box set documenting the closure of Bill Graham's iconic musical palace with performances by Cold Blood, Tower of Power, It's A Beautiful Day, the Elvin Bishop Group among many that played that last week. Both are available for download several sites, including the iTunes Store.

This month's reading recommendation is Worth Dying For by Lee Child. Jack Reacher and a small Nebraska farm town terrorized by a wealthy family ...what more can you ask for?

* * *

For this issue of the Sports Shooter Newsletter I asked students that are members of or had attended one of the Academy workshops to submit their favorite photo of 2010 and write a short piece about it. This image could be from a favorite assignment, show something they had learned or is something of a personal nature. The one requirement was, the image had to have special significance to them.

* * *

As always, special thanks to: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin and Joe Gosen.

Thanks this month to contributors: Daniel Berman, Jordan Stead, Chelsea Sektnan, Cliff DesPeaux, Joel Hawksley, Luke Sharrett, Ryan M.L. Young, Rafael Delgado, Jeff Bennett, Patrick Fallon, Lee-Huang Chen, Angus Mordant, Kent Nishimura.

The comments, opinions and other perceived nutty statements that the writers may have expressed, implied, imagined or made up are theirs and theirs alone. Sports Shooter, Inc. and published these articles in good faith with the purpose of education and inspiration.

Permission in writing must be obtained from Sports Shooter, Inc. and the author of the article before being reprinted.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at

For information on the Sports Shooter Academy workshop, go to the newly redesigned site at:

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What to do with an empty fish tank and a diving board? Go for a swim! ::..