Michael Ryan Pritchard (born May 4, 1972) is an American musician, best known as the bassist, backing vocalist and co-founder of the American rock band Green Day. While at school, he would play "air-bass." While pretending to pluck the strings, he made the noise, "dirnt, dirnt, dirnt," so his schoolmates started to call him "Mike Dirnt".
Life and career
Dirnt was born and raised in California. He was born to a native American woman and she gave him up for adoption. He has one sister, Myla. His adoptive 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, at age 15, and they then started their current band Green Day with former Isocracy drummer John Kiffmeyer (a.k.a. Al Sobrante) 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.
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