Nick Traina

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Nick Traina
Nick Traina of Link 80.jpg
Background information
Birth nameNicholas John Steel Toth
Born(1978-05-01)May 1, 1978
DiedSeptember 20, 1997(1997-09-20) (aged 19)
GenresPunk rock
LabelsAsian Man
Associated actsLink 80, Knowledge

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

Early life[edit]

A son of American bestselling writer Danielle Steel, 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.

Traina's biological father was Steel's third husband, William George Toth, a convicted burglar and former heroin addict.[1]

Music career[edit]

Traina 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[2] 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 Leavitt, who died on June 3, 2009.[citation needed]


Due to 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 tried to get him the proper medical help, Traina died at 19, from a self-administered lithium overdose at the home of a friend, Julie Campbell.[3]

Traina was interred in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Colma, California. 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.[citation needed]

On May 16, 1998, 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.[citation needed]

In 1998, Steel released her book titled His Bright Light which was about Nick's life and death along with his struggles with mental illness and drugs. Proceeds of the book, which reached the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List, were used to found the Nick Traina Foundation, which Steel runs, to fund organizations dedicated to treating mental illness.

In June 2016, Link 80 reunited for two reunion shows and released a five minute tribute video featuring footage and images of Traina accompanied by the Social Distortion song "When the Angels Sing" that was played before the shows.[4]


With Link 80:

With Knowledge:

  • A Gift Before I Go (1998)


  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. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy (2012). The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches. Chicago Review Press. p. 377. ISBN 978-1-61374-478-9.
  3. ^ Steel, Danielle (1998). His Shining Light: The Story of Nick Traina. Delacorte Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-38533346-7. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Link 80 (20 June 2016). "Nick Traina (Memorial Video)" – via YouTube.

External links[edit]