Former Hole drummer Patty Schemel is happy that her new documentary is bringing together a Hole reunion of sorts.
Her onetime bandmates — Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson and Melissa Auf Der Mar — all plan to attend the premiere of “Hit So Hard: The Live & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel” tonight (Mar. 28) as part of the New Directors/New Films series in New York City, marking the quartet’s first time together since the troubled making of the 1998 “Celebrity Skin” album.
“It’ll be exciting,” Schemel tells Billboard.com, “and, y’know, it’s a little stressful I guess. I haven’t seen everyone all together in 13 years. I’ve seen everyone individually, but not all together. It’ll be exciting.” As to whether it might result in some music-making, Schemel adds, “Nothing has been discussed, but I have a feeling… Who knows.”
“Hit So Hard,” which tells the story of Schemel’s time in Hole from 1992-98, including her clashes with producer Michael Beinhorn during the recording of “Celebrity Skin” (a session player was ultimately used) and her battle with drug addiction. The project began about eight years ago, when Schemel, who’s been clean since 2005, presented a collection of Hole videotapes to friend and film director P. David Ebersole for him to help her digitize. “He was looking at the footage and said, ‘You should probably do something with this, this is great footage,’ ” Schemel remembers.
“It’s really personal stuff. I never thought of it going everywhere. But I started explaining to him what each scene was, and he started to get the story and the story started to tell itself as each new tape was seen. He’s a friend and I trusted that he wouldn’t exploit any of the stuff or just focus on one part of the story. I did have reservations, but each year I became a little bit more clear and more sober and less foggy, and it seemed like [the film] was a good thing to do.”
“Hit So Hard” features footage of Hole on stage, backstage and in the studio, as well as strikingly intimate scenes from Schemel’s personal life, including time spent living with Love, the late Kurt Cobain and their daughter Frances Bean. Love, Erlandson and Auf Der Maur are interviewed in the documentary, and Erlandson provided sound board recordings to sync up to the live footage. Also appearing in the film are Veruca Salt‘s Nina Gordon, Faith No More‘s Roddy Bottum (who wrote “Hit So Hard’s” score), Fanny drummer Alice De Buhr, the Bangles‘ Debbi Peterson, Phranc, Luscious Jackson/Beastie Boys drummer Kate Schellenbach and members of Schemel’s family.
“It’s the story of my band and the story of my addiction,” explains Schemel, who now lives in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles with her wife and their six-month-old daughter and plays in the band Psychic Friend with Will Schwartz from Imperial Teen. “This is my perspective, which is different than, I guess, what the world sees or what the world was allowed to see. This is my private view of what I went through… and over the years, as I got clean, I’ve discovered that I’m not just Patty who plays drums in Hole or was in Hole. The cleaner and more focused I became, the more I discovered things about myself and that it wasn’t all about the identity of being that drummer in Hole.”
“Hit So Hard” is slated to be screened at other film festivals in hopes of being picked up for distribution.