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Elaine Miller (Frances McDormand) is a bright, loving, but strict single paren t whose distrust of rock music and fe ars about drug use have helped to drive a wedge between herself and her two children, Anita (Zooey Deschan el) and William (Patrick F ugit). Anita rebels by dropping out of school and becoming a stewardess, but William makes something of his love of r ock & roll by w riting album reviews for a local underground newspaper. William's work attracts the attention of Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Ho ffma n), editor of renegade rock magazine Creem, who takes William under his wing and gives him his first professional writing assignment — cov ering a Black Sabbath concert. While William is unable to score an inter view with the headliners, the opening act, Stillwater, are more than ha ppy to chat with a reporter, even if he's still too young to drive, and William's piece on the group in Creem gains him a new admirer in Ben Fo ng-Torres (Terry Chen), an editor. Torres offers Willia m an assignment for a 3,000-word cover story on Stillwater, and over th e objections of his mother (whose parting words are "Don't use drugs!"), and after some stern advice from Bangs (who says under no circumstance s should he become friends with a band he's covering), Williams joins St illwater o n tour, where he becomes friendly with guitarist Russell Hamm ond (Billy Crudup) and singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee). William also becom es enamored of Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a groupie traveling with the ba nd who is no older than William, but is deeply involved with Russell. L ester Bangs and Ben Fong-Torres, incidentally, were real-life rock write rs Crowe worked with closely during his days as a journalist. Almost Fa mous' original score was composed by Nancy Wilson of Heart (who is also Crowe's wife).