born to a heroin-addicted teenage mother, who soon gave him up for
adoption at 6 weeks old. He was adopted by a Native American mother and a
caucasian father. He has one step-sister, Myla, who left home at 13. Soon
after Dirnt's 6th birthday, his adoptive parents divorced, leaving him
torn between his father, a prosperous computer programmer, and his
struggling mother. "I grew up with my mom hating the white man and loving
me," he has said. His mother later remarried. "When I was in fourth or
fifth grade, my mom stayed out all night, came home the next day with a
guy, and then he moved in. I'd never met the guy, and suddenly he's my
stepdad." When asked about his stepdad, he says, "We didn't get along for
years. Later on, my mom moved away and my stepdad and I got real close. He
instilled a lot in me. The one thing my family did give me is blue collar
morals. But he died when I was 17." Mike had left home at 15 to live out
of his truck, but later rented a space over Billie Joe Armstrong's garage.
He ended up graduating from Pinole Valley High School in 1990, and Green
Day went on their first tour the day after graduation. However, Dirnt
almost didn't graduate, due to the fact that he was missing school because
of work, and his mother was not around to sign absentee forms. Two
unexcused absences lost him 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 and I said to her, This is how it is. You have so
much crap 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. I
haven't failed yet, have I? And I'm going to graduate if you stay off my
back. The one time in your life you choose to have morals, and it's going
to mess me up. Don't play mom once a year. It doesn't cut it.'"
Dirnt met Billie Joe Armstrong in 1982, in the Rodeo Elementery school cafeteria, a few months before Armstrong's father died. He first founded Sweet Children with Armstrong in 1988, then Green Day with Armstrong and former Isocracy drummer Al Sobrante in 1989. Some years before, Dirnt moved in with Armstrong because his adopted 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 wound up onstage by the end of the set that one of the security guards mistook Dirnt for a marauding fan 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., Armstrong got Mike his first Fender Precision Bass. He also learned to play guitar and drums. He later asked Fender if they could make him a custom P-Bass, and the result is a bass modeled after the 55' P-Bass with a split-coil pickup in the middle. It was released in early 2004.
Dirnt is also bassist in another band called The Frustrators. He was the bassist for Chicago punk band (and Lookout Records labelmates) Screeching Weasel on the album How to Make Enemies and Irritate People, and also appeared as a guest vocalist on the debut album by Squirtgun (yet another Lookout Records recording artist).
When growing up Mike sometimes worked as a chef to raise money for the band and himself. He now is the co-owner of Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, located in Emeryvillie, CA.
Mike Dirnt Signature Series Fender Bass
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