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Pennie For Your Thoughts

April 22, 2001|STEVE BALTIN

In the movie "Almost Famous," which won Cameron Crowe the Academy Award for best original screenplay, Kate Hudson's character Pennie Lane stresses that she doesn't hang out with bands as a groupie, but as a supporter of the artists and their music.

Now the real person the part was largely based on is once again going behind the scenes of the music world-this time on the business side. And her motives, she says, remain the same.

(A representative for DreamWorks, which released "Almost Famous," said that the character in the film was a composite patterned on several people, but Crowe has acknowledged in interviews that she was the primary inspiration.)

Lane left the music world 25 years ago, building a successful business as a marketing consultant for an array of clients including the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego. But Lane (who is using her original alias in her music business ventures) is putting her marketing expertise behind a San Francisco-based rock band called Storm Inc. and Seattle women-in-music magazine Rockrgrl.

"Twenty-five years ago, I was just an observer, but the business of music always fascinated me," she says. "It is fun to be back, and this time as a player."

While she does admit that the film jarred some memories for her, it was not the movie that brought her back to music, but rather Storm, the charismatic frontwoman of the Storm Inc.

"Storm is one in a billion," Lane says. "She is the consummate rock singer with attitude, and she has the talent to back it up and then some."

For her part, Storm says she wanted to work with Lane because "Pennie loves music and loves people who make music."

Storm and her band have just released an independently produced and financed album titled "The Calm Years."

And while they have already had a lot of interest from major labels, Storm is not going to rush into a deal. Having followed the indie route for almost a decade, Storm says, "I am not anti-major label. I'm just holding out for the best deal."

Storm Inc. is playing the Troubadour in West Hollywood on May 7 and the Gig Hollywood on May 10. And yes, Pennie Lane will be there.

"I'll be the person handing out press kits and chatting with reporters and reviewers," she says.

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