My Dream of Being Almost Famous

by Lucas Westcoat February. 10, 2017 2142 views

Benjamin Gibbard of "Deathcab for Cutie" and "The Postal Service"

My favorite movie is Cameron Crowe's nostalgic coming of age story "Almost Famous." I identify with William, the main character. William was heavily influenced by the music of his generation but wasn't cut out for the "harsh face of stardom" as said by Philip Seymour Hoffman portraying music critic Lester Bangs. I didn't say I wanted to be famous... just almost famous.

Growing up I was always in to music. I played guitar in garage bands with my little brother on drums. We had a great time writing amateur grunge/alternative music in 1990s Seattle. My brother was a prodigy on drums and to this day makes his living playing in several bands, some of which you may have heard. I was an average guitar player and songwriter. As I watched my brother's talent blossom, I decided that my chances of playing music for a living were slim to none. I did, however, have decent business savvy, and I thought perhaps I could still participate in the music scene in that capacity. So straight out of college I pursued a career in the music industry. I loved the scene. I love being at shows 4-5 nights a week. I loved seeing the same people and hanging out with the bands. I loved stepping past the velvet rope at venues and festivals like SXSW. It was a trip.

The band "Minus the Bear" in Seattle

The problem with the music business is the business part. I found it tough to squeak out a living and had a few jobs trying to make ends meet. It wasn't sustainable. So I left the biz. Not long after my departure, the music labels I worked for laid off everyone in my former department. I dodged the unemployment bullet.

"Ra Ra Riot" at the Sasquatch Music Festival

I still frequented shows despite now having to pay to get in to many of them. It was also around this time that I took up photography. I would frequently try to sneak in my camera or get added to press lists and guest lists in order to photograph that scene I loved being a part of. It got harder and harder to lawfully take pictures as a member of the audience, and my opportunities dwindled.

"Bon Iver" at the Sasquatch Music Festival

I still dream about having the opportunity to photograph a major music festival as a credentialed photographer. Getting up close and personal to the performances and back-stage scene to capture pop culture history. Maybe someday.

Seattle band "Pet Sounds" at an underground show

"Minus the Bear" in Seattle, WA

To see more of my work you can follow me on Instagram or check out my website

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