Nick Tosches

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Nick Tosches
Born Nicholas P. Tosches
(1949-10-17) October 17, 1949 (age 67)
Newark, New Jersey, United States
Occupation Biographer, essayist, journalist, novelist, poet
Nationality American

Nick Tosches (/ˈtɑːʃəs/; born October 17[1] or 23,[2] 1949) is an American journalist, novelist, biographer, and poet. His 1982 biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, Hellfire, was called by Rolling Stone "the best rock n’ roll biography ever written."[3][4]


He was born in Newark, New Jersey. The name Tosches originates from Albanian settlers in Italy, known as Arbëreshë; his grandfather emigrated from the village of Casalvecchio di Puglia to New York City in the late nineteenth century.[5]

According to his own account, Nick Tosches "barely finished high school".[4] He had a variety of jobs, including working as a porter for his family's business in New Jersey, and as a paste-up artist for the Lovable underwear company in New York City,[1][6] before spending time in the early 1970s in Florida working as a snake hunter for the Miami Serpentarium. A fan of early rock and roll music and "oddball" records,[4] he also began writing for rock music magazines, including Creem, Fusion, and Rolling Stone. He has been described as "the best example of a good rock journalist who set out to transcend his genre and succeeded,"[3] and as someone who "along with Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer and a handful of other noble notables from the era... elevated rock writing to a new plateau."[4] He was fired by Rolling Stone for collaborating with Meltzer in filing record reviews under each other's byline.[6]

His first book, Country: The Biggest Music in America (later retitled Country: The Twisted Roots of Rock and Roll), was first published in 1977. It was followed in 1982 by Hellfire, a biography of Jerry Lee Lewis, and in 1984 by Unsung Heroes of Rock N' Roll: The Birth of Rock in the Wild Years Before Elvis. Subsequent biographies have covered the lives of singer and entertainer Dean Martin, Sicilian financier Michele Sindona, heavyweight boxer Sonny Liston, country singer Emmett Miller, and racketeer Arnold Rothstein.[3][6]

Tosches has worked as a contributing editor at Vanity Fair,[5] and has also been published in Esquire and Open City. He has published four novels, Cut Numbers (1988), Trinities (1994), In the Hand of Dante (2002), and Me and the Devil (2012); and a collection of poetry, Chaldea and I Dig Girls (1999). He also worked on Never Trust A Loving God, a book in collaboration with the French painter and friend of the writer, Thierry Alonso Gravleur.[7] He has described his literary influences as "Hesiod, Sappho, Christopher Marlowe, Ezra Pound, William Faulkner, Charles Olson, and God knows who else."[5] A compendium, The Nick Tosches Reader collects writings from over the course of his career.

He was featured on the popular Travel Channel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in the episode "Disappearing Manhattan". He and Bourdain shared a drink at Sophie's in the East Village, a Manhattan dive bar, and they discussed the changing nature of the city.



Fiction and poetry[edit]

  • Cut Numbers, 1988
  • Trinities, 1994, St Martins, ISBN 0-312-95689-4
  • Chaldea and I Dig Girls, 1999
  • In the Hand of Dante, 2002
  • Me and the Devil, Little, Brown and Company, 2012
  • Johnny's First Cigarette, Vagabonde, 2014
  • Under Tiberius, Little, Brown and Company, 2015




Film and television[edit]


WTF with Marc Maron Mon, February 23, 2015


  1. ^ a b Raab, Scott (December 13, 2012). "Nick Tosches: The ESQ&A". Esquire. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Calendar of Historical Events, Births, Holidays and Observances
  3. ^ a b c Christina Nunez. "Meet the Writers: Nick Tosches". Barnes and Noble. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Doane, Rex (November 12, 1999). "Nick Tosches, the man in the leopard-skin loafers". Salon. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Bloom, Michael. "Nick Tosches's Satisfaction". Scram Magazine. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Miliard, Mike (September 26, 2002). "Saint Nick". The Phoenix. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Robert Birnbaum, Nick Tosches's unpredictable enthusiasms and obsessions are worth paying attention to, The Morning News. Retrieved 12 August 2013

External links[edit]