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Hit So Hard: A Memoir

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  834 ratings  ·  99 reviews
A stunningly candid and inspiring memoir of recovery from addiction and the '90s, by Hole drummer Patty Schemel

Patty Schemel was a drummer at the epicenter of the Seattle grunge scene in the early '90s, best known for her work with the alternative rock band Hole.

Hit So Hard begins with stories from a childhood informed by the AA meetings Schemel's parents hosted in the
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 31st 2017 by Da Capo Press
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  834 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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Jennifer Masterson
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, audio, memoir
Raw, real, and absolutely amazing! I don’t know why this book is not getting more attention! Patty’s story is pretty incredible. I had no idea the path her life took. The only thing I knew about her was that she had been in the band Hole and was a big part of the Seattle grunge scene.

She talks candidly about her time with many famous musicians, including Curt Cobain and of course Courtney Love.

She went from being on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine to living on the streets turning tricks fo
Blake Fraina
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
David Johansen of the New York Dolls likened an addict’s existence to the film Groundhog Day. The incessant quest for drugs, to the exclusion of all else, makes every day exactly like the one(s) before it. He was referring specifically to his bandmate, Johnny Thunders, but he could just as easily have been describing the life of former Hole drummer, Patty Schemel.

I love a good rock memoir. I’ll take a pass on recent bestsellers by big stars, like Keith Richards, Dylan or Springsteen, instead opt
Jen from Quebec :0)
A gripping look at addiction within the music industry. Even better is that Patty was the drummer for HOLE at the height of their popularity in the 90s, so she has incredible stories to tell even *without* the harrowing heroin addiction tales. She has great stories about Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain among other notable musicians, and the story takes place during Kurt's suicide, so there are insights about that as well. As a girl who loved both Nirvana and HOLE, this book was great. It was made ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hit So Hard is the memoir of Patty Schemel, the drummer to the 90s grunge rock band Hole and largely details her battle with substance abuse and climb back to sobriety.

After watching the 2011 Hit So Hard documentary, while seeking an update on Schemel, I learned she had written a memoir of the same name released in 2017.

In both the documentary and memoir, Schemel is frank and appears quite honest in the detailing of her struggles of both substance abuse and her sexuality. She is also very graci
Joshua Allison
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
So real. So raw. So brutally honest. I related to her story in so many ways—being a drummer, heroin addict, kicked out of bands, homeless, and having a near death experience. The only reason I didn’t give a 5 was all because of Courtney Love and her insensitive comments. She’s so arrogant. Talentless. That wasn’t her band, it was Patty (the Author) who ran the show, the band. Go Patty!
Jayne Lamb
'Hit So Hard' is certainly readable, but I'd hoped to hear a bit more about Schemel's experiences as a drummer - this is very much a memoir of heroin addiction from the get-go, not one to read if you are in a position of recent sobriety. Makes me want to seek out the 2012 documentary though for sure.. ...more
3.5 Stars-I was a huge fan of Hole as a teenager. I saw Hole (with Patty Schemel drumming) in Minneapolis/St.Paul a few times: opening for Nine Inch Nails (Courtney threw baby barettes at us!), headlining at First Avenue (Courtney told Kurt & Babes in Toyland stories!), and at Lollapalooza 1995 (Courtney was an angry mess!). Needless to say, I was stoked to read Patty's memoir. Patty Schemel grew up in a Washington home with AA parents; AA meetings were held in her parents' living room. She star ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well this book was way better than I predicted. Writing is solid, and the description of addiction is unbelievably honest. I need to go listen to Celebrity Skin 11,000 times now, see you guys later
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the road to redemption is a long and twisted one. Patty had it all - talent, funny, was a trailblazer in her field, and addiction.

if you had seen the documentary Hits So Hard you only know part of Pat's journey. The video diaries, photos, initmate.moments with rock God's and goddesses. The book goes deeper, inward. You follow her down the rabbit hole of success, addiction, and bad choices. You see how she had it and yet was losing it all.

this book isnt just for any Hole fan, but for music fans
I read this in 2017 but chose it as a staff pick for 2018. Here's the review I wrote for work:

Before Patty Schemel played drums in Hole, she was a vital part of underground music here in the Pacific Northwest. Hit So Hard tells the story of those pre-grunge days well, chronicling Schemel's time in early bands such as The Primitives, Doll Squad, and Sybil, when she was one of only a few young women playing drums in a male dominated punk scene, heroically inspiring other teenage girls to follow he
Waverly Fitzgerald
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
hole is one of my favorite bands of all time, and (as patty wearily points out in one of the last chapters of her book) i am one of those tiresome fans whose life was forever changed when she very casually came out as gay in the pages of "rolling stone," in 1995--an era where that usually wasn't done without a high professional and personal cost. i saw "hit so hard" the documentary, OF COURSE, and it was pretty good, so i was excited for this book. was disappointing, to say the least.
N. Ryan
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
When starting, I found it almost impossible to put down; by the end I couldn’t wait to.

Some of the totally self-absorbed, self-entitled behaviour and opinions of people mentioned thoroughly pissed me off.

In fact, after about the first 20% pretty much everything pissed me off.

Bleak, bland, repetitive, boring, grey and depressing.

Precisely how addiction is.

So, a work of utter genius that really brings the crass tedium home?


Let’s address the elephant in the book.

In the first few pages
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m unapologetically obsessed with rock memoirs, especially those involving 80s hair bands and the grunge scene. This one is compelling from the rock and roll memoir standpoint but also from the perspective of being a visceral, poignant, harrowing account of addiction.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best rock memoirs I've ever read.
Fascinating and insightful!!!
Thomas Mankowski
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking-ly hopeful emo: "I knew that somehow music would take me somewhere better and it did." ...more
Katie Banyay
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Felt like it could be a companion piece to Scar Tissue in a way. She even mentions RHCP a few times throughout. I do wish there was more! It would get to something good, I’d flip the page and it’d be a new chapter, different subject. I felt like everything happened so fast that I was missing something. I suppose it could be that’s just how it went. Well written and exciting the entire time.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Gilly Hanner
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Brutal, well written and thoroughly exhausting tale of addiction framed in the context of the exploding Seattle music scene in the early 90’s. The facts of being a queer female drummer who succeeds in a world where that was still relatively rare are eclipsed by the overwhelming reality of just needing to get high over and over and over again, forever. I couldn’t breathe until I finished reading it.
Erin Hannan
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jesus CHRIST, Patty! Firstly, congratulations on staying sober for so long, and continuing to work on it. You’re bad ass. (I’m just gonna pretend you might read this.)

This totally explains why we never knew much about you. When you didn’t do the Celebrity Skin tour, I just assumed that you could only hang with Courtney’s shit for so long.

I’d say this is a must read for Hole fans, but maybe over a certain age? I was a teenager in the 90s and I knew that there were rock stars who did heroin, and
Wendi Manning
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I knew the story going in. I wasn’t expecting any major surprises and the only surprises I got were from her incredible determination to be an addict. She actually used Layne Staley as a reference point. Seriously? If you aspire to reach Layne levels of drug use, maybe the problem isn’t the drugs.

Before anyone jumps on me for that, I’m saying right now, I had a drug problem myself, so I’m not speaking from innocence.

She comes off as the least likable member of Hole, that’s an incredible feat.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review to come.
patty schemel was the drummer of hole, and hole is one of my favorite bands - top three - so I am surprised this wasn't on my radar - it came out in 2017 and I just saw it the other day. I was excited to read it.

I am currently deciding if I am going to keep my copy or pass it on. I have lol tolhurst's memoir cured, he was the drummer/keyboardist in another of my top three bands, the cure, and similarly it is a tale of addiction and dysfunction and recovery. I will say, although schemel is an al
Mark Farley
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Honest, candid and frank, HIT SO HARD is former Hole drummer Patty Schemel's written account following from the excellent documentary of the same name.

Watching said documentary, I sometimes felt she held back being quite so open as she is in this book and it shows in it's reading. Which is refreshing, but it's so much easier in this medium to talk about embarrassing and shameful situations you unfortunately found yourself in, when at the mercy of the level of substance abuse Patty went through
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I originally read this book because I love Hole, the band that writer Patty Schemel played in during the 90s, and am always trying to read more about the band and anything involving Courtney Love. As an avid fan, I eagerly seek out anything I can get my hands on involving the 90s grunge scene. I initially started this book excited to read about Hole, but I quickly realized that the memoir is mostly about Patty Schemel's drug addiction. It was a wonderful read.

Schemel discusses her childhood bri
Brian Joynt
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Harrowing but hope-themed story from Patty Schemel, drummer for Hole. Patty sheds a lot of light, information, and bittersweet anecdotes about the Seattle scene in the 90s, a revolutionary time in music and rock that was unfortunately waylaid (and eventually destroyed) by the heroin epidemic and never fully reached the potential or creative realization it deserved. Patty's story is not unique, but it's incredible in its scope, to realize she survived and lived to tell the tale when so many of he ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: review
This is an incredibly candid account of being an addict (aspects of it made *me* feel grimey) and it's a really engaging quick read. To have come out the other end of such a huge addiction problem is incredible.
I would however loved to have read more about Patty as a drummer and more about her relationship with members of Hole as they are now. It felt like the book just wrapped up very quickly.
It's definitely worth reading and dropping into that world , especially if you were/are a fan of the n
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hole is probably my all-time favorite band, which is why I jumped on this audiobook (as read by Patty herself). Courtney Love's gigantic personality has always taken center stage in stories about the band, so anything that focuses on the lives and stories of the other band members is all the more interesting just for its rarity!

Hit So Hard is a memoir, and more so than a ton of band intrigue, it's really a condensed version of Patty's life story, centering around her struggles with addiction. O
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