Elizabeth Davis-Simpson was born into a musical family. Both her parents were musicians. Her father began playing professionally in the 1930’s primarily on piano but also as a stand up bass player, trumpeter and accordion player. He played jazz, standards, big band, bluegrass. Later, he became a born again Christian and wrote and performed contemporary Christian music. Her mother was a singer who also wrote music with her father. Elizabeth was youngest of 6 kids, all of whom played various instruments and sang. The family gave a cappella performances in churches around Southern California in the 1970’s. She started performing music at age 5 on piano, later played saxophone, flute, and bassoon in high school and college band.
After graduation from Walla Walla Seventh Day Adventist University in Eastern Washington (’89), Elizabeth moved to Seattle, where she spent many weekend trips seeing bands. It hadn’t really occurred to her that she could be in a band until she saw a girl she knew from Pike Place Market, Valerie, walking up Virginia Ave carrying cymbals. Elizabeth had just been given a bass guitar by her boyfriend at the time. She learned by playing along with records (Stooges, ACDC). She picked it up quickly and felt ready to play with people. Lucky for her, the bassist Valerie had been playing with left for Germany, so she came to rehearsal with her. Lisa Orth, and Stefanie Sargeant were playing guitar, and Selene Vigil-Wilk was on vocals. This was the beginning of 7 Year Bitch.
They moved into Rat House for rehearsals and wrote 3 songs pretty quickly: Lorna, No Fucking War and Dead Men Don’t Rape. They played their first show just a few weeks after; a benefit at the OK hotel with the Gits, DC Beggars and a several of other bands. Scott Benson and Julian Gibson recorded them for free at a recording engineering school and they put out their first 7inch shortly after. Robin Taylor, who booked the OK Hotel, took them under her wing and helped them get shows. The Gits were very influential as well, helping them with everything from setting up equipment to letting them open for them. Elizabeth remembers Mia being especially encouraging, telling them to keep learning and playing and not worry about other people’s negativity. Barbara Dollarhide signed them to C/Z records. Before their first record was done, Stefanie died. They released all the material they had recorded and dedicated “Sick ‘ Em” to her. Depressed and in need of an outlet, they were determined to continue playing. Kim Warnick (Fastbacks) told them about a guitarist in L.A., Roisin Dunne. They drove down in the Bitch van and moved her up to Seattle. Pretty soon, 7YB was touring most of the time, overseas and in the states. They were about to embark on a full US tour with the Gits when the devastating, shocking event of Mia’s murder took place. Mia inspired their second record, “Viva Zapata,” which they recorded with Jack Endino at Reciprocal. Rick Rubin took interest in the band and flew them down to LA to talk about signing to Def American. While there, Courtney Love told Danny Goldberg, president of Atlantic, to try to sign them. They ended up going with Atlantic and made their third and final record, “Gato Negro,” with Billy Anderson in San Francisco. Atlantic was a good experience for them. Their dream of having their favorite comic book artists, the Henandez brothers, do their record cover was made a reality. They were able to do larger tours.
After aggressively touring Gato Negro, Roisin decided to leave the band, Selene moved to L.A. to pursue acting, and Valerie and Elizabeth moved to San Francisco to be closer to Selene without having to live in L.A. The band tried to continue with their soundwoman, Lisa Fay Beatty (Mudwimmin), as their guitar player, but the momentum was gone. Living in different cities was hard to overcome. After 7 years, 7 Year Bitch came to an end.
Shortly after the demise of 7 Year Bitch, Elizabeth opened the SF Guardian classifieds and saw an ad seeking a bass player. The bands they listed as influences included Chrome and The Birthday Party and she knew she needed to check it out. She joined Clone within minutes of playing with them and had an instant musical/personal bond with them. This was very different music, and very different approach to being in a band. Clone was eclectic and strange and provided hours and hours of jamming. This was something she never experienced before and it was hugely gratifying for her. They’d only made one record when the singer and drummer started a family together. The keyboard player and Elizabeth started a new band, Von Iva, another all female band. Von Iva had success right out the gate and was known for their high energy live shows and dance-able, fun songs. She was about that age where she had to decide if having a baby was going to happen or not. No sooner had she given that some serious thought boom- she got pregnant. She played her last show 3 months pregnant. As much of a great ride it had all been, she was ready to step off. She’s now married, owns a business, has a “raging” little 4 year old son named Thor, and is half-way through the graduate nursing program at USF.
“I’m frequently asked if I miss being in a band,” said Davis, “I really don’t. I enjoyed the hell out of it when I was doing it though. Once in a while, I do miss the fun of playing really fucking loud and heavy with friends and discovering that this part fits great with this other part and pulling the riff different directions to see what happens. I miss that part of it. Jamming. But I had my fill and am damn happy to have had the experience. I know how lucky I was to spend most of my 20’s and all of my 30’s being in bands. I’ll have the memories and tattoos forever.”
7 Year Bitch - In Lust You Trust
|7 Year Bitch||Sick ‘Em||1992|
|7 Year Bitch||Viva Zapata!||1994|
|7 Year Bitch||Gato Negro||1996|
|7 Year Bitch||Various Artists: Home Alive: The Art of Self-Defense||1996|
|Clone||Not Feeling Quite Like Yourself Today?||1998|
|Von Iva||Our Own Island||2001|
Full 7 Year Bitch discography, including 7″ releases and Various Artist contributions, can be found on Wikipedia.