This episode the Rock N Roll Librarian Shelley Sorensen and C Swain review ‘Hit So Hard’ by original drummer for the 90’s grunge band, Hole.
Patty Schemel's story begins with a childhood surrounded by the AA meetings her parents hosted in the family living room. Their divorce triggered her first forays into drinking at age twelve and dovetailed with her passion for punk rock and playing the drums. Patty's struggles with her sexuality further drove her notoriously hard playing, and by the late '80s she had focused that anger, confusion, and drive into regular gigs with well-regarded bands in Tacoma, Seattle, and Olympia, Washington. She met a pre-Nirvana Kurt Cobain at a Melvins show, and less than five years later, was living with him and his wife, Hole front-woman Courtney Love, at the height of his fame and on the cusp of hers. As the platinum-selling band's new drummer, Schemel contributed memorable, driving beats to hits like "Beautiful Son," "Violet," "Doll Parts," and "Miss World." But the band was plagued by tragedy and heroin addiction, and by the time Hole went on tour in support of their ironically titled and critically-acclaimed album ‘Live Through This’ in 1994, both Cobain and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff had died at the age of 27
With surprising candor and wit, Schemel intimately documents the events surrounding her dramatic exit from the band in 1998 that led to a dark descent into a life of homelessness and crime on the streets of Los Angeles, and the difficult but rewarding path to lasting sobriety after more than twenty serious attempts to get clean. ‘Hit So Hard’ is a testament not only to the enduring power of the music Schemel helped create but an important document of the drug culture that threatened to destroy it.
Our hosts also discuss the companion documentary film of the same name with previously unseen footage of Cobain and Love. This is some real rock n roll archaeology, so dig in with a listen and then tell us what you think!
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Disclaimer: The views expressed here by Shelley Sorenson are made in her capacity as a private citizen, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the San Francisco Public Library or the City of San Francisco.