His sister Nancy turned him on to bands like Electric Flagg and Blue Cheer, and after seeing how cool the bass player looked in a photo on a Blue Cheer album, Michael decided, "That's me! His first bass was actually a Fender Mustang guitar owned by Mike Hershey, who he would later go on to form a band with.Mike relieved the guitar of its top two strings and used it as a bass.A short time later, Mike's father sprung for a Victoria P-bass copy and a Gibson amp that he picked up at a local flea market.

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By 1966, Mike's family had moved from Chicago to California twice, before finally settling in Arcadia.

As a youth in Arcadia, Mike was a promising baseball player (he played catcher), but chose not to pursue baseball after starting high school so he could devote all of his time to playing music.

Mike's first band was Poverty's Children and featured himself on bass and lead vocals, his brother Steve on drums and Mike Hershey on guitar.

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Michael got an early start in music at age seven, following in the footsteps of his father, Walter by taking up the trumpet.

The second of five children, (Nancy, Michael, Steve, Robert and Dennis), Mike was raised in Chicago, and later moved to California where he attended Arcadia High School in Arcadia, graduating in 1972.

He was a member of the marching band and on the track team (his event was the running long jump) at Dana Junior High School in Arcadia, CA which he attended from 1967-1969.

As a teenager, Mike developed an interest in the guitar.