As the drummer for Hole, Patty Schemel never adopted the outsized persona that certain members of her group did. But now, she’s getting her moment in the spotlight, thanks to Hit So Hard, a documentary about her drug addiction and life in the eye of the grunge tornado.
Out: This is an intense film. What are you hoping people take away from it?
Schemel: I talk about growing up feeling like a freak because I was discovering I was gay. I talk about finding David Bowie and Klaus Nomi and Patti Smith and them being these little beacons of light for me. I found myself and I found this sense of self in music. That phrase, "It gets better" -- well, it does. Because I felt like a freak, that propelled me further.
It got better? That whole scene seemed really straight.
Bands like Dickless were cool, but Mudhoney and Soundgarden were like boys’ clubs. When Kurt [Cobain] came along, he said -- through his music and the way he spoke about things -- that freaks are cool. He said that being gay is cool, and that made the climate even better for us.
Why did you decide to participate in the film?
I had a lot of reservations. But if I was going to tell this story, I was in safe hands with [director] David Ebersole and [producer] Todd Hughes. They would tell it honestly and not exploit things -- like Kurt and Courtney [Love] and my drug addiction. I was honest and forthright about sharing my recovery and drug addiction. I had second thoughts, but it was a big part of my story.
Hit So Hard opens in select cities April 13.