Have Guitar, Will Travel by Bill Culp

As a lifelong singer-songwriter, I can get behind others who do (or have done) the same. And whether it’s music, sport, or real-life versions of CSI crime dramas, most of us enjoy a juicy tell-all, especially those “unauthorized biographies” that publish gossip yet somehow manage to avoid charges of slander. However, in this case we simply have a successful Canadian musician and producer telling his story, an authorized autobiography, his personal tale spanning fifty years in the industry.

This, from the publisher:

Have Guitar, Will Travel is a story of joy, love, nostalgia, passion, heartbreak and despair – the makings of great Canadian music – and is ultimately about redemption and hope for the future.”

Like any good songwriter, author Bill Culp is a storyteller, a natural weaver of narrative with story arc, emotional highs and lows, infused with plenty of humour and snippets of pop culture. Reading Culp’s Have Guitar, Will Travel feels like sharing a pint or three with someone you’ve only just met but you already know you’re likely to befriend for a while. Being of a certain age helps to appreciate this work’s music, TV, and cultural references. I suppose younger readers with a passion for retro might enjoy it as well. Then again, I can never be sure when they’re being ironic or not.

But for fans of a warmly told, sincere memoir with an acceptable amount of self-praise and plenty of fun “behind the scenes” backstage anecdotes, Bill Culp’s Have Guitar, Will Travel is an enjoyable, easy read for lovers of Canadian music from the past half century, and those who can relate to lifelong optimism, and life on the road.

Bill Culp is a small-town Canadian kid who leaped into a legendary life of popular music, from Punk bands like Problem Child to six-nights-a-week bar gigs with the Rubels, and on to a successful business creating tribute shows that brought his musical heroes to new life. With tenacity and a never-say-die positive attitude, Bill Culp embarked on a 50-year career, touring the globe and crossing paths with many of the biggest names in Canadian music history. After his performing career collapsed in the wake of the pandemic and divorce, Bill Culp found new love, a new Cape Breton home, and a fresh capacity to inspire himself and others.

  • Title: Have Guitar, Will Travel
  • Author: Bill Culp
  • Publisher: Breton Books, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781926908915
  • Pages: 156

 -- Website

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of A Season on Vancouver Island, theGone Viking travelogues, andA Perfect Day for a Walk: The History, Cultures, and Communities of Vancouver, on Foot(Arsenal Pulp Press, Fall 2024). Recipient of a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions, Bill’s a frequent presenter and contributor to magazines, universities, podcasts, TV and radio. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land. 

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