A 15 year old boy (Patrick Fugit) gets an opportunity to travel with Stillwater on a 1973 tour. As a younger boy, his sister (Zooey Deschanel) and his widowed mother (Frances McDormand) had fought about the mother's control over the family and her denial of rock music. As a teen, he makes record reviews for an underground newspaper. He submits those to Cream magazine writer Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and gets his attention. They become friends and Bangs acts as his mentor as Rolling Stone magazine comes calling. Rolling Stone agrees to bankroll him on a trip with the group. There he meets the "Band Aids", a group of girls that refuse to be called groupies because they are dedicated only to specific bands. "Penny Lane" (Kate Hudson), the Band Aid's leader is enamored with the group leader (Billy Crudup), but befriends the teen. He responds with complete infatuation with her, but he is equally enamored with the charismatic guitarist. While accepted by the band, they nonetheless refer to him as "the enemy - a rock critic".