Oh yes, Charles Rawlings-Way is the great pretender: a guitarist who can’t read music; a cartographer with a dodgy sense of direction; a surfer who can’t swim; an Australian with a British passport; and now, a rock ‘n’ roll biographer who only occasionally reads Rolling Stone. Forget fate and fortune: this strange brew of talents and hoodwinks owes more to enthusiasm, one-eyed commitment and the ability to blag oneself in and out of opportune doorways.
Seduced by Jack Kerouac at a porous age, Charles hit the road at 21 and has since written 30-something guidebooks for travel publisher Lonely Planet, covering every fleapit hostel and dive bar from Toronto to Tasmania. These endeavours peaked back in 2009 with his enshrinement as ‘Best-selling Travel Writer in Australia’, shifting more books than Bill Bryson and Billy Connolly (…might be time to grow a beard).
Is touring with a rock band so different to backpacking? There are plenty of parallels: the buses, the hangovers, the beat, beat, beat of the midnight highway… Waking up in an unfamiliar city every few days, frowning into your wallet and forgetting to phone home. But even Kerouac would agree that rock bands have better wardrobes.
Charles lives in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia with his family, books and music, fearing bushfires in February and tending a fire every day in rainy July. He has a Bachelor of Architecture degree he only uses when absolutely necessary.
Urbane is thrilled that Charles will be publishing his biography of the hugely successful rock band Del Amitri in 2017!