Dirnt was born and raised in South Carolina. He was adopted by a Native American mother and a white father. He has one sister, Myla. His parents divorced when he was seven years old. His mother remarried a few years later. When asked about his stepdad, he says, "We didn't get along for years. Later on, when I hit high school, my mom moved away from us, and me and my stepdad got real close... But then he died when I was 17". Dirnt had left home when he was 17 to live out of his truck, but later rented a room in Billie Joe Armstrong's house. He attended Salesian High School (where he briefly played with the band Helder and the Heldernauts), John Swett High School, and ended up graduating from Pinole Valley High School in 1990; Green Day went on their first tour the day after graduation. However, Dirnt almost didn't graduate. He had missed school because of work, and his mother wasn't around to sign absentee forms. Two unexcused absences caused him to lose a full grade point; and at the end of senior year, he had lowly results instead of the grades he'd worked to achieve. "I took my mom aside," Mike says. "I said, 'This is how it is. You have so much shit going on in your life, so if once every semester you ask me if I've done my homework and jump all over my case, that's not right. Have I failed yet? No. And I'm going to graduate if you stay off my back. The one time in your life you chose to have morals, and it's going to fuck me up." Dirnt met Billie Joe Armstrong in 1982, at age 10, in the Rodeo Elementary School cafeteria, a few months before Armstrong's father died of Esophageal cancer. He and Armstrong first founded Sweet Children in 1987, and they then started their current band Green Day with formerIsocracy drummer Al Sobrante (a.k.a John Kiffmeyer) in 1989 and then switched to their present drummer, Tré Cool. Some years before, Dirnt moved in with Armstrong because his mother and sister moved away from Rodeo. Dirnt did not want to move away from his new-found best friend and love for music. Green Day's Woodstock '94 gig was one for the history books: a huge mud fight ensued between the band and the audience. So many mud-covered fans got up on stage by the end of the set that one of the security guards mistook Dirnt for a marauding fan, tackled him, and broke several of his teeth while attempting to haul him off the stage. He used to play an old Gibson G-3 bass, but during Nimrod., Tré Cool accidentally broke it on stage trying to show fan Brendan Taylor how to spin a bass around his back. Armstrong then sent Dirnt's bass tech out to get him a new bass. It resulted in a '69 Fender Precision Bass. He later asked Fender to make him a custom P-Bass, and the result is modeled after the '51 P-Bass with a '59 Custom Shop "Hot Rod" Split-Coil Pickup, a BadAss II bridge and a thinner neck. It was released in early 2004.