While being in a successful rock band seems like the stuff dreams are made of, that wasn’t always the case for Patty Schemel, drummer for the band Hole from 1992 to 1998. Schemel, an out lesbian, was traveling the world with fellow band members Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson and Melissa Auf der Maur and enjoying all the joys of fame but, as she told AfterEllen.com earlier this week, the ride also had a darker side in her drug addiction that inevitably led to her departing from the band and nearly losing her life.
Despite the up-and-down times for the drummer, one constant was that Schemel was constantly at work documenting everything on camera and now that raw, honest footage has been put together in the documentary Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death Story of Patty Schemel (which screened at Outfest) . The upfront and honest film chronicles the drummer’s life before, during and after Hole, including dealing with being gay in a small town (Marysville, Washington), being out without reservation and how she came out of her addiction to live a happily married life in Silverlake.
AfterEllen.com: Had you always thought that all the footage you took over the years would eventually come together for a documentary? Was that remotely a plan?
AE: How was it to go back and relive that whole time whether you were looking at all those tapes or just talking about the past?
AE: Were there things that you didn’t remember whether it was due to that period on drugs or just things you merely forgot?
AE: As a viewer, it’s easy to watch your story and think “How did this person survive everything that happened here?” Do you see it that way?
AE:I think in the movie you summed up the drug addiction when you said if you had to choose between Angelina Jolie and a crack pipe you’d choose the crack pipe!
AE: And Angelina is one of those people that anyone would sleep with!
AE: I hadn’t heard of the Saturn Return philosophy where all these rock stars like Kurt Cobain had died at the age of 27. Did you know about that at the time since you joined Hole when you were at that exact age?
AE: While you were in Hole, you were very upfront and open about being a lesbian and even the early-to-mid 90s was very different than today. Did you put a lot of thought into coming out at the time?
After the time I was in Hole, I experienced situations where I was discriminated against because I was a female drummer and I was in rehearsal situations with guys involved in a music project that were talking about girls and porn or with a laptop with porn playing. I was like “Really?” That s–t would not fly in my band. There’s no way! I don’t think it was the sign of the times but more of a situation of the style of music that I was playing then with a group of people and what we allowed. To have never experienced discrimination would be a lie.