Patty Schemel

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Patty Schemel
Patty Schemel MOMA.jpg
Schemel at a screening of Hit So Hard at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, 2011.
Background information
Birth namePatricia Theresa Schemel
Born (1967-04-24) April 24, 1967 (age 52)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, punk rock, indie rock
InstrumentsDrums, guitar
Years active1987–present
LabelsDGC, Geffen, Lauren Records, Don Giovanni
Associated actsKill Sybil, Doll Squad, Hole, Phranc, Constant Comment, Bastard, Juliette and the Licks, Courtney Love, Imperial Teen, Green Eyes, Upset, Death Valley Girls

Patricia Theresa "Patty" Schemel (born April 24, 1967) is an American drummer and musician who rose to prominence as the drummer of alternative rock band Hole from 1992 until 1998. In 1998, Schemel left Hole, and in the early 2000s reunited with Hole frontwoman Courtney Love during her solo career, and later drummed for Juliette and the Licks. As of 2010, Schemel continues to play music and gives drum lessons, in addition to owning a dog daycare/boarding business. In 2013, Schemel joined the indie rock group Upset, formed by Ali Koehler, previously of Vivian Girls and Best Coast.[1] She also formed a rock and roll band with her brother, Larry Schemel, called Death Valley Girls.

Early life and education[edit]

Schemel was born in California.[2] She is the middle child of three children and grew up in Marysville, Washington.[3] Both her parents are natives of Brooklyn, New York, and relocated to Washington state prior to Schemel's birth.[4] Schemel began playing drums at age eleven, and played music with her brother Larry who played guitar. As a teenager, Schemel came out as a lesbian to her family.[3][5]

Musically, Schemel's early influences included Echo & the Bunnymen, AC/DC and Wire, among other punk rock bands,[citation needed] and at age fifteen, along with her brother Larry, formed her first band, The Milkbones. The pair later joined Seattle punk band Sybil, which was renamed Kill Sybil due to the artist of the same name.[6]



In 1987, she joined Doll Squad,[7] an all-female punk rock band from Seattle, Washington. Along with bassist Annette Billesbach, lead guitarist Cathy Watson, rhythm guitarist Helen Halloran and vocalist Mara Dralle, Schemel was one of the original members of Doll Squad before their 2008 reunion. The band was initially active from 1987 to 1989 gaining an indie following in Seattle, playing alongside Nirvana, and releasing one self-released demo tape.

Between Kill Sybil and Doll Squad, Schemel played drums for Everett Washington band The Primitives with poet Raegan Butcher and local legends Danny Darst and Tommy Suzuki.

After leaving Doll Squad, Schemel formed SNUF with Faye West on vocals, Otis P. Otis on guitar, and Michael on bass. Michael died in a drug-related fire and was replaced by Darren Peters. Shortly after picking up Peters, Mark Spiders came in on second guitar. Infamous for playing naked at Squid Row on Seattle's Capitol Hill, Snuf had to change the name to "Sunshine" in later 1989. Schemel would move on to join Hole; and Mark, Darren, and Otis would form Willard.

1992–1998: Hole[edit]

Schemel was considered by Kurt Cobain as Nirvana's drummer after the departure of their drummer, Chad Channing.[3][8] Cobain had been a fan of Schemel's former band Sybil, which had also been based in Seattle.[3] However, after Dave Grohl's audition, Schemel became Cobain's second choice, and he and Schemel developed a close friendship.

After the departure of Hole's original drummer Caroline Rue, frontwoman Courtney Love recruited Schemel at the suggestion of Cobain; after an audition in Los Angeles which impressed Love and guitarist Eric Erlandson, Schemel was asked to join the band in 1992. Schemel's first work with Hole was the recording of their fourth single, Beautiful Son, on which she also played guitar on the b-side "20 Years in the Dakota", with Love playing bass. Following this, Schemel played drums on Hole's second and most successful album to date Live Through This (1994). She later went on to tour with the band for the promotion of Live Through This, which featured dates at the Reading Festival, Big Day Out and Lollapalooza. While on tour in April 1995, Schemel became the first woman ever to appear on the cover of Drum World magazine.

Schemel publicly came out in a 1995 Hole interview with Rolling Stone, saying "it's important" and that she's "not out there with that fucking pink flag or anything but it's good for other people who live somewhere else in some small town who feel freaky about being gay to know that there's other people who are and that it's OK." [9] Schemel's girlfriend at the time acted as Courtney Love's personal assistant during Hole's 1994–1995 world tour, while promoting Live Through This.[9] Also in the mid-1990s, according to an inside source, Schemel was in a brief relationship with drummer Polly Johnson of 764-HERO.

Around this time, she also recorded with Phranc, playing drums on the Goofyfoot EP. In 1996, Schemel played drums on Hole's cover of Fleetwood Mac's song Gold Dust Woman, which was the first song on the soundtrack to The Crow: City of Angels. She also sang backing vocals and appeared prominently in the video for the song. During this time, Schemel and Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur formed a short-lived side project called Constant Comment. The band played a small number of shows before disbanding.[10][11]

Hole became active again in 1997 and entered the studio to record Celebrity Skin (1998), the follow-up to Live Through This. Schemel worked on the writing of the album's material, and composed all of the drum parts herself. While in the studio, however, Love and Erlandson, at the insistence of producer Michael Beinhorn, suggested using a session drummer to record the drum tracks for the album. This led to Schemel voluntarily leaving the studio and quitting the band, and the final drum tracks were recorded by a session drummer provided by producer Beinhorn. In the months following the album's release, Schemel was not present in band interviews, and was eventually replaced by Samantha Maloney[12] for the album's tour. However, due to her contribution to the writing of the album and its demos, Schemel's name and photo were still included on the album sleeve.

Reasons for Schemel's departure from Hole were disputed at the time, with Love claiming that Schemel's then drug habit was to blame, which supported circulating rumours,[13] however, Schemel insisted it was due to "musical differences." It was later revealed in 2011 that Schemel left Hole due to personal and musical differences between her and Celebrity Skin producer, Michael Beinhorn. She claimed that Beinhorn was "totally psyching [her] out in the studio" and after a meeting with the band, Beinhorn brought in session drummer Deen Castronovo, to which she felt "betrayed by the band."[14]

Bandmates Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson later publicly expressed regret over the decision to replace Schemel on the album's studio work, and Love referred to Beinhorn as "a Nazi".[15] Melissa Auf der Maur also commented on the incident, but noted that she "didn't have much of a say in it."[3]

Later projects: 1999–present[edit]

After her departure from Hole, Schemel embarked on a number of musical projects including recording with Larry Schemel the album "Tacoma Ballet" with Los Angeles band Lucid Nation, an improvised record that hit #1 on the New Music Weekly Combined College Radio and Secondary Chart in 2002.[16] In 2001, she reunited with Courtney Love for Love's short-lived project Bastard, which included Veruca Salt's Louise Post on guitar and Gina Crosley of Rockit Girl.[17] The band, though they recorded a few demos, disbanded shortly afterwards, though Schemel has maintained a friendship with Love over the years. She also recorded with Juliette Lewis's punk rock band Juliette and the Licks, with whom she played drums on their debut 6 song EP ...Like a Bolt of Lightning before leaving the band prior to the recording of their second album, You're Speaking My Language. Schemel, along with her brother Larry, also a musician, were also key composers and performers on Courtney Love's solo album, America's Sweetheart (2004). She has also toured with Imperial Teen.

In early 2010, she formed a new band, Green Eyes. Her current band is an all-lesbian trio, The Cold and Lovely. They released an album under the same name on June 5, 2010. In January 2013, Schemel joined the group Upset with Ali Koehler.[1]


Hit So Hard, a documentary about Schemel's life, directed by P. David Ebersole premiered in New York at The Museum of Modern Art in March 2011 as part of the New Directors/New Films Festival, reuniting the classic Hole line-up in the same room for the first time in thirteen years.[18] "Hit So Hard" was also the Documentary Centerpiece at Outfest in Los Angeles in June 2011 [19] and was released theatrically and on home video in 2012.[20] It includes interviews with all four members of Hole as well as archival footage of the band that Schemel taped during her tenure. In a recent interview, Schemel stated that the documentary answers all of the questions fans may have regarding the Celebrity Skin situation.[21] The documentary reveals that Schemel was still supposed to tour for the album, but refused to. Her last contribution to Hole was for the shooting of the cover art for Celebrity Skin. She was supposed to be in the lead single's music video, but didn't show up.

Personal life[edit]

In the early 1990s, Schemel developed an addiction to heroin. She also refused to be part of close friend Kurt Cobain's drug intervention in March 1994, claiming that doing so would be hypocrisy, as she "was strung out [...] how dare I go there and say anything about someone else's abuse when I'm doing it too."[22] After quitting Hole in 1998, Schemel cut off contact with all of her family and friends, and became addicted to crack cocaine and was homeless for over a year.[3] According to Courtney Love, Schemel contacted her asking for money, which Love provided, but only under the condition that she would attend rehab.[3] By the early 2000s, Schemel attended rehab and achieved sobriety.

On March 18, 2010, Schemel appeared in bonus footage for the VH1 program Sober House with Dr. Drew discussing her addiction and sobriety. She also took part in the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in 2010, which is focused on women's recovery from drug addiction to sobriety.[23]

As of 2013, Schemel is drumming again in several indie bands. She also owns a dog walking/boarding/daycare business, and gives drum lessons. She lives with her wife, Christina Soletti, and their child, in Los Angeles.[3]


  1. ^ a b Nokes, Emily (2013-01-08). "Ali Koehler's New Band Features Patty Schemel on Drums". The Stranger. Lineout. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
  2. ^ Schemel, Patty; Pearson, Tanya (interviewer) (17 August 2016). "Patty Schemel" (Video interview - oral history). Women of Rock Oral History Project. Northampton, MA: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Auf der Maur, Melissa; Eric Erlandson; Courtney Love; Patty Schemel (2011). Hit So Hard (motion picture DVD). Go Well USA Home Video.
  4. ^ Schemel, Patty (December 9, 2015). "Patty Schemel (Hole) Episode 62" (Interview). Interviewed by Dewey Halpaus. Portland, Oregon.
  5. ^ Ferber, Lawrence (April 2004). "GrooveOut". OutSmart Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  6. ^ Smith, Angela (2014). Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  7. ^ "Doll Squad on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  8. ^ Love, Courtney. Interview with Kurt Loder for MTV's Courtney Love: The Hole Story, September 1, 1994.
  9. ^ a b Rolling Stone Magazine issue # 715, August 1995
  10. ^ "Live Through This Tour Dates". Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 17 December 2007.
  11. ^ " - The Ultimate Hole Trading Community v.3.0". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  12. ^ (November 25, 1998). "News - Articles - 1430074 - 19981125". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Rumors are swirling about the status and sobriety of drummer Patty Schemel. At press time, the only semi-official comment is that Schemel is 'on vacation' and will not appear in the video for 'Celebrity Skin.'" From a 1998 article entitled FEATURED SOUNDBYTE: HOLE: THE CELEBRITY SKINNY.
  14. ^ Don Zulaica (March 1995). "Lived Through That: Patty Schemel". Drum World. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  15. ^ Leonie Cooper (March 24, 2011). "10 Things We Learn About Kurt Cobain And Courtney Love From Hit So Hard - The Movies Blog - NME.COM - The world's fastest music news service". NME. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  16. ^ "Lucid Nation Beatzone". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  17. ^ Rob Kemp (March 8, 2001). "Courtney Love Unveils Lineup Of Femme-Punk Project Bastard". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  18. ^ "Hole Takes New Directors | | Film Society of Lincoln Center". 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  19. ^ Chuck Wilson (2011-07-07). "OUTFEST 2011: Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Preview - Page 1 - Film+TV - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  20. ^ "Rights to the Patty Schemel Doc 'Hit So Hard' Go to Well Go USA". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  21. ^ "Patty Schemel". Tom Tom Magazine. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  22. ^ Schemel, Patty. Interview with VH1 for Behind the Music: Courtney Love, 2010.
  23. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - LEMMY, SLASH, MATT SORUM To Perform At Sixth Annual MUSICARES MAP FUND Benefit". March 31, 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.[permanent dead link]

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