She was Miles Davis' second wife with a killer set of pipes and attitude to spare. For the first time in decades, Betty Davis talks about walking away from the business.
By Litsa Dremousis
5/31/2007, 10:01 AM
If you listen for it, it's there. The faint hint of a growl, like a Bengal tiger rising from a nap. "It doesn't matter," she says when asked if she prefers to be called "Betty" or "Ms. Davis" and the voice is unmistakably that of the legendary funk songstress, the woman who roared "I said if I'm in luck/ I just might get picked up" at the start of her self-titled debut, Betty Davis, thirty-four years ago.
Light in the Attic Records has just re-issued Davis' first two discs, Betty Davis and 1974's They Say I'm Different, Molotov cocktails of sticky sex and unchained rhythmic propulsion. To support the re-releases, she agrees to what is only her seventh interview in the past three decades, conducted by phone from her home in Pittsburgh. She is engaged but reticent, politely and frequently answering questions with the fewest words possible. When asked if her epoch-defining years sometimes feel as if they happened to someone else, her reply is a single snare drum kick with zero elaboration: "Yes."More: