Patty Schemel was part of one of the most influential bands of what has come to be defined as the “grunge” area. Setting the music world aflame right alongside bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, after America decided it had had enough of hair metal and rock ballads, she and her cohorts in Hole penned some of the rawest and most memorable tracks of the 1990’s. Now 50 years old and doing pretty much whatever she wants, including giving drum lessons, playing with the bands The Upset and Death Valley Girls, and running her own dog daycare and boarding business, Schemel has recently released a new memoir entitled “Hit So Hard” chronicling her tumultuous past, including the music and addiction that had been such a dominant force in her life.
“Hit So Hard” is every bit as raw and candid as the songs that made Hole a favorite of critics and audiences alike. The book is a no-holds-barred account of Schemel’s personal and professional evolution, from her lower-class religious upbringing by two Alcoholics Anonymous devotees, to her adolescent struggles with her sexuality, to the heart-wrenching death of Kurt Cobain and her personal Relationship with Courtney love, to her ascension to musical stardom. Music and addiction figure equally prominent in the memoir, as Schemel writes: “I was born recovering. I don’t remember a time before I knew the concept.”
Schemel discusses, in sometimes painfully honest detail, the places her addiction would take her, confessing that alcohol felt like a “warm blanket” the first time she tried it at the age of 12. One of the most interesting and inspirational elements of the book is when Schemel discusses that drumming provided a calming and euphoric effect similar to drugs and alcohol, reinforcing that music and addiction can often bring forth some of the same emotions. Throughout her active period of substance abuse, Schemel went to multiple detox and rehab facilities before finally getting and staying clean. She tells her story in a tone that mixes emotional detachment with raw reality to both shock and inspire in equal measure.