Hole was a big deal to me when I was a teenager. I wore out their album, “Live Through This,” when it came out in 1994. I saw them play Lollapalooza in 1995 and songs like ’Miss World‘ or ‘Violet‘ instantly transport me back to the time when strong, outspoken woman rockers dominated the music charts. Hit So Hard perfectly documents my beloved grunge era while pulling back the curtain on some of the truly troubled individulas who made all of that memorable music.
Patty Schemel may not be the person you picture when you think of Hole, but as the group’s troubled yet oddly level-headed drummer she was the undercover heart and soul of the band. Unfortunately she was also developing a dangerous drug addiction while learning to navigate the murky waters of being part of a hit rock band with a mecurial lead singer. That makes her a particularly compelling subject for Hit So Hard, a documentary that not only recounts her life, but also her near death at the hands of the very thing she loved more than anything: music.
With this exhaustive examination of the factors that went into feeding Patty’s addictions, director P. David Ebersole is able to tap into that particular period in music history with an eye for what made it so special and also what made it so detrimental for those who were at the centre of it. Unfettered access to Patty’s home movies allow for a peek into her world: candid backstage banter between bandmates; sweet footage of Kurt Cobain playing with his baby daughter mere months before his death; and scene after scene of both the (ahem) highs and lows of life on the road. It’s sad, it’s transfixing and when you see how Schemel has managed to pull herself out of the gutter (literally), it’s extremely inspiring.