Nick Tosches Died at age 69. What was his earlier life?

Nick Tosches, who began his career in the late 1960s as a brash music author with a penchant for rock and country fringes, then turned his eccentric style to biographies of personalities including Dean Martin and Sonny Liston and hard-to-classify books, died in his home in Manhattan on Sunday. He was sixty-nine.
There was no indication of the exact cause,
but he was sick, said a colleague, James Marshall.

Earlier Life of Nick Tosches

Nick was born October 23, 1949 in Newark, New Jersey. His nickname comes from Italian Albanian immigrants, known as Arbëreshë; his grandparents emigrated to New York City in the late 19th century from the city of Casalvecchio di Puglia.

Nick Tosches, Fiery Music Writer and Biographer, Dies today at 69
Nick Tosches at 69

Nick “nearly finished high school,” according to his own account. The multi talented man had a variety of jobs, including working as a porter for New Jersey’s family business, as a paste-up artist for New York City’s Lovable underwear agency, and then as a snake tracker for Florida’s Miami Serpentarium in the early 1970s. He also started writing for rock music publications, including Creem, Variety, and Rolling Stone, a lover of early rock and roll and “oddball” songs.

Tosches was described as “the finest example of a good rock writer who set out to conquer his profession and excel,” and as someone who “together with Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer and a host of other noble men of the period… lifted rock journalism to a new level.” Rolling Stone fired him for partnering with Meltzer in filing album reviews under each other’s byline.