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fromDa Capo Press

Hit So Hard

A Memoir

By Patty Schemel

A stunningly candid portrait of the Seattle grunge scene of the '90s and a memoir of an addict during the last great era of rock 'n' roll excess, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel

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.
Patty Schemel is an American drummer, songwriter, and comedian best known for her work with the platinum-selling band Hole. She is on the board of the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls in California, a non-profit organization that teaches girls all over the world that it's okay to be loud. She continues to perform, teach, and tour, currently with the band Upset, and lives in Los Angeles with her wife and daughter.

"Reading about the myriad ways Hole drummer Patty Schemel--'the best musician in that band' as her pal Kurt Cobain put it--brutalized herself with addiction can feel like a kind of sadistic experience. And yet, Hit So Hard feels ultimately uplifting and hopeful, in part because its author so fully and completely appreciates what she's survived in order to have written it. Hit So Hard is a harrowing but heartwarming read. Schemel's made the years she got that others didn't count. And it shows."--Lizzy Goodman, author of Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011

"Patty Schemel has lived a million lives and come out the other side. An amazing story, amazing book."--Mark Lanegan

"Hit So Hard is a compulsive read about the best worst times of a music scene torn apart by darkness and overshadowed by myth. Schemel writes with clear-eyed bravery about the chronic disease of addiction and offers hope for anyone still struggling to survive the '90s."--Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls and Everything You Ever Wanted

"Often harrowing, frequently heartrending, and always insightful, Hit So Hard is far more than rock myth-making or a redemption story. In looking back unflinchingly at the literal highs and crushing lows of her life, Schemel's yielded a complex, compellingly readable memoir that possesses a truth and humanity few books of its kind ever truly capture."--Bob Mehr, New York Times bestselling author of Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

"Patty Schemel's drums have always been a wake-up call, the punctuation that makes serious the wild streams of punk consciousness her bands have expressed. This book is a wake-up call, too: a clearly considered, deeply honest look back at a rock scene that's often been mourned but rarely truly understood. Schemel writes most honestly about herself: she spares nothing and no one as she traces the path of addiction as it intersects with the privileges and costs of young fame. A must-read about rock 'n' roll realities."--Ann Powers, NPR Music Critic and author of Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music

"Revisit the '90s as Schemel recounts the rise and rise of her band, as well as the devastating effects of her drug and alcohol addictions...[and] the music that taught her 'how to feel so much it hurt.'"—Elle.com

"[A] heartbreaking memoir...Schemel's recounting is bluntly terrifying and provides invaluable insight into the ravages of addiction-and just as importantly, the possibility of recovery...A must-read for any grunge fan."
—Publishers Weekly

"The ex-Hole drummer lifts the veil on the punk mythos with an unsparing memoir, in which she chronicles industry sexism, her teenage coming out, her struggle with addiction, and her years on the road with Kurt and Courtney."
—Village Voice

"This memoir by Hole's former drummer...is a no-holds-barred look at her musical career and harrowing, decades-long path she took to achieve sobriety."—Salon.com, “The 30 must-read music books of Fall 2017”

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