Nick Traina

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Nick Traina
Nick Traina.jpg
Background information
Birth name Nicholas John Steel Traina
Born (1978-05-01)May 1, 1978
Died September 20, 1997(1997-09-20) (aged 19)
Genres Punk rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Labels Asian Man
Associated acts Link 80, Knowledge

Nicholas John Steel Traina (May 1, 1978 – September 20, 1997) was an American singer, who was lead singer for the punk band Link 80.

Early life[edit]

One of the sons of American bestselling writer Danielle Steel, Nick Traina was given the last name of his adoptive father, John Traina, a cruise line executive. He was raised in San Francisco where he attended Town School but due to his parents' financial success, their family also maintained an estate in the south of France. Nick Traina's biological father was Steel's third husband, William Toth, a burglar and heroin addict whom his mother later divorced.[1]

Nick Traina performing with Link 80.

Music career[edit]

He started his first band, Shanker, at age 13 with Max Leavitt. He joined Link 80 at age 16 and played with them for three years, touring extensively.

After leaving Link 80 in August 1997, Traina formed a new band called Knowledge and recorded a demo with them that has since been released on Asian Man Records. A song titled "Gnat" was included on the release; the song was recorded years earlier with Max Leavitt.


Because of the many problems Traina exhibited from childhood, his life included a number of psychiatric hospitalizations for drug abuse and for treatment of bipolar disorder. While his mother wrote that she tried everything at her disposal to get him the proper medical help, Traina died at 19 of a self-administered morphine overdose at the home of Julie Campbell, a family friend.[2]

Traina was interred in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Colma, California. His mother told his life story and of the struggles with his illness in her 1998 book titled His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina.


In addition to his mother's book, a handful of songs have been written for Traina, including All Bets Off's "Catharsis" by best friend Sammy Winston, Link 80's "Unbroken" by former bandmate Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and "Hey, Nick!" by the White Trash Debutantes.

Traina was friends with Oscar Scaggs (son of musician Boz Scaggs), who died of a heroin overdose in 1998, as well as musician Max Leavitt, who died June 3, 2009.

On May 16, 1998, Danielle Steel hosted a memorial show for Traina at Slim's in San Francisco, featuring Link 80, MU330, the Bruce Lee Band, Powerhouse, the Hoods, Subincision, All Bets Off and the Blast Bandits.


  1. ^ Carroll, Jerry (October 22, 1995). "Danielle Steel's Plot Thickens / San Francisco social circles buzzing as romance author, fourth husband split". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ Steel, Danielle (2008) [2006]. "1997". His Shining Light: The Story of Nick Traina. Chicago Review Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-1-55652-754-8. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 

External links[edit]