In the News: Rock writer Nick Tosches has died

The only thing on Nick Tosches’ website’s About page is this line: Nick Tosches lives in what used to be New York. In fact, he lived at 90 Hudson and from what one neighbor said, he was not only the sharpest dresser in the building (“It was like he was from another era”) but also gave out the best Halloween candy. He may have felt that way himself. This was the intro to The Nick Tosches Reader: “I write these words on a hot and humid morning toward the end of a dying century, some years after I myself was written off and left as dead.”

The music writer, who was part of a posse of rock critics called the Noise Boys for their radical prose (Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer rounded out the crew) died in late October at 69. Tosches wrote for Creem, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, and was the author of biographies of Dean Martin, Sonny Liston and Jerry Lee Lewis as well as several novels. From The Times obit: “Interviewing Debbie Harry of the band Blondie in 1979 for Creem magazine, he thought nothing of asking whether she shaved or waxed her legs. Neither, it turned out; she told him she plucked them, one hair at a time.” And these words, perhaps fitting of an epitaph, as told to The Times in 1992: “Life is a racket. Writing is a racket. Sincerity is a racket. Everything’s a racket.”


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Nick Tosches once predicted he would live until 2022. He didn’t make it that far but close enough to share a choice hamburger with his buddy, flee a mountaintop Black Oak Arkansas rock press gathering as we drove through the night, and tour guide through the arcane corridors of country music, Dante’s Inferno, the subterranean Vatican library, the lives of Emmett Miller and Jerry Lee Lewis and Dean Martin and Arnold Rothstein, and be true to his own Newark tough guy persona. A great writer and wordsmith, who knew the Simps from the Mahoneys. I will miss his fount of knowledge and caustic wit. Having a cigarette and a drink with you, my good friend, until we meet again. 2nd photo: @jmhound …eyes closed because I’m already dreaming of him… ???? #nicktosches #unsungherosofrockandroll

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1 Comment

  1. I just returned from his memorial. To his friends, Nick was a gift. Not to mention the smartest person I’ve ever met, at least amongst artists.