Grunge Legend ‘Couldn’t Stop’ Doing Drugs After Kurt Cobain Died

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Below is an excerpt from Vice‘s new interview with former Hole drummer Patty Schemel, where she reveals why she couldn’t stop doing drugs after the deaths of Kurt Cobain and Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff.

“Because I was the same person that I was before they died – an addict,” Patty says. “That was the way I dealt with the world, and so the pain of a friend’s suicide or a friend’s overdose wasn’t enough to make me stop. What it shows was that no real life devastation was enough to make me stop doing drugs or alcohol.”

Touring Live Through This, the Hole album released a week after Kurt’s death, meant powering on through loss. Courtney was a fiery, aching mess, the eyes of the global media now fully fixated on her, waiting for her to reach the apex of self-destruction. Every show in that period was unpredictable. Songs would segue into the singer’s rambling monologues, or her jumping into a crowd ready to rip her dress off and put their fingers in her orifices, wanting a part of her wildness. Every interview focused on her and her husband’s death, rather than anything the band had collectively done. One member left over all this; what Patty and the others called “The Darkness”.

“I guess Courtney felt she had to do more than play guitar and sing,” she writes. “I always felt our music should’ve been enough.”

In the book, Patty describes watching this theatre unfold from the unusual vantage point of behind a drumset, while smoking a cigarette or reading a paper. “The role of any drummer is to keep everything together, to be the glue, but my role was magnified because Courtney was so chaotic and unpredictable,” she remembers. “I sort of had to keep aware of that, allowing her to do whatever she’s going to do, according to however she feels. I think we did pretty well together, considering, she and I.”