Patty Schemel talks about her new documentary, Hit So Hard, and Hole's fifteen-minute reunion
You reunited with Hole -- including Courtney Love -- last month in Brooklyn, for about fifteen minutes at a showing of your film. How was that for you?
It was good! As soon as Courtney came backstage, we all sort of went back into our roles as a dysfunctional family. She came in asking for cords from Eric [Erlandson, guitarist]. We all just sort of were like -- I was trying to make a joke, Melissa [Auf de Maur, bassist] was trying to stay positive, and Eric was like, to Courtney, "Well, you figure it out yourself!"
It went really well. All that dysfunction happens off the stage. But when we're inside our songs, we're at our best. It was a good time, and it was great to hear her voice with Eric's guitar again.
Would you want to play with Hole again?
You know, before that, I was saying that I didn't see another time we would get together. But maybe we will. I can't say never. The planets have to align exactly right.
Being in a band is so much more than the dysfunctional family metaphor, too -- it's art and personality.
It's ego, it's commerce, it's so many more things. It's a mixed bag.
What does your life look like right now as a musician?
I'm in a band called The Cold and Lovely with Meg Toohey, who played in a band called the Weepies, and Nicole Fiorentino, who is also in the Smashing Pumpkins. We have a record coming out in June, and we're playing a bunch of shows. That's my new musical love, this band. I do various things -- Will Shwartz (of Imperial Teen and Hey Willpower) and I wrote a song for the movie. That's kind of it right now. Oh, and being a mom.
How is it being in a band now, versus being in Hole at such a peak time? Do you feel like music holds a different space in your life?
Back when I was in Hole, I was a lot younger. That was my whole identity; it was my whole life. Nowadays, I find there is a lot more than just that part of me as a drummer, you know? I talk about it in this film. It used to be music first, then everything else. Now it's my recovery first, then me and my family, and then music kind of falls down on the list.
I don't think I would have any of these things if I didn't have recovery first. That was just sort of the thing that changed for me and got me where I am now. The change in where priorities are and what's important -- it's not compromising. In music, you do a lot of compromising with the things you need; your time, I mean, certain details. Like, "You need a certain amount of sleep," and you're like, well, that's not happening [laughs].
How long have you been sober?
Is it something you have to work on daily?
Yes. I do things to help my recovery each day. You know, some days are easier than others -- stressful days, things going on in life. My first thought is, I need to relieve this stress somehow. There are things I have learned that relieve the stress without reaching for a drink or drugs.
But now it's like, I quit smoking and I'm trying not to eat sugar. The first thing I wanted to do in stressful situations is, like, eat cookies and stuff. So there are all of these things that I would do instead of reach for a drink -- eat a box of cookies, and maybe have a cigarette, you know? There are layers of it. I always say, "I deserve it!" But I just don't have the moderation, the control button.
But then again, it's like, is it that lack of moderation that can somehow turn those feelings into drive?
Exactly. I think, is it what crafted my personality to make me where I am now? Along with those feelings of being an outsider and not conforming, did that fuel me as a person in art? Maybe that, mixed with my sexuality and just being a weirdo [laughs]?
Hit So Hard opens this Friday, May 4, at the Denver FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. The film runs through May 10, with a special appearance and Q&A with Schemel following the 7:15 p.m. showing on Saturday, May 5. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.denverfilm.org.