With Stillwater's growing popularity, the record company smells money—that's where Dennis Hope comes in. Hope is Stillwater's new manager, sent in by the corporate machinery to squeeze every last dime out of the band. He is pragmatic, condescending, and 100% in it for the money. He is everything that Lester Bangs warns William about: the embodiment of the all-business, money-first mentality that is strangling the true artistry of rock and roll.
During confession time aboard that shaky airplane, Hope confesses that he committed a hit-and-run in Dearborn, Michigan. "I don't know if he's alive or dead," he explains, "but I'm sorry. Not a day goes by I don't see his face." We guess this shows that he has some semblance of a conscience, but it seems to be too little, too late. He quits his role as band manager just minutes later.
The band is quick to move on from Hope and reject the corporate exploitation of the music.