Michael Ryan Pritchard (born May 4, 1972), better known by his stage name Mike Dirnt, is an American musician, singer, and songwriter who serves as the bassist, backing vocalist, and co-founder of Green Day.
While at school, Mike would pretend to play the bass when unable to practice, making a noise of someone playing single notes (dirnt, dirnt, dirnt); he later used this as his stage name.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Dirnt was born on May 4, 1972 to a heroin-addicted teenage mother, who soon placed him for adoption at six weeks of age. He was adopted by a Native American mother and a Caucasian father. He has one stepsister named Myla, who left home at 13. Soon after Dirnt's seventh 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. We didn't get along for years."
"Later on," Dirnt continues, "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. He attended John Swett High School, switched schools, and 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; he'd 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 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 the Rodeo Elementary School cafeteria in 1982, a few months before Armstrong's father died. He co-founded Sweet Children (soon to be renamed Green Day) with Armstrong in 1988, with Al Sobrante of Isocracy on drums (Sobrante would later be replaced by Tre Cool). Some years before, Dirnt moved in with Armstrong because his adoptive mother and stepsister moved away from Rodeo. Dirnt didn't want to move away from his newfound 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 and his right elbow while attempting to haul him off the stage.
He used to play an old Gibson G-3 bass, but during Nimrod, Tré accidentally broke it on stage. Armstrong then sent Mike's bass tech out to get him a new bass. It resulted in a '69 Fender Precision Bass. He also learned to play guitar and drums. 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" Single Coil Pickup, a BadAss II bridge and a thinner neck. It was released in early 2004.
Dirnt is also the bassist of another band called the Frustrators. He was the bassist for Chicago punk band (and Lookout! label-mates) Screeching Weasel on the album How to Make Enemies and Irritate People and also appeared as a guest vocalist on their debut album by Squirtgun.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Dirnt married his first wife, Anastasia Serman, in 1996 and divorced shortly afterwards, bearing one child, Estelle ("Stella" for short). Dirnt gained full custody of Stella in 2008, and she currently lives with him in Oakland. He married his second wife, Sarah Garrity, in 2004 but divorced shortly afterwards because Dirnt was too busy working on American Idiot. He married Britney Cade, his third wife, in May 2009. The couple have two children together: Brixton and Ryan Ruby Mae.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Mike Dirnt/Trivia