Michael Lee Firkins was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1967. Born to musician parents, his father was a lap steel guitarist and his mother a pianist, he started playing acoustic guitar at the young age of eight. Mostly self taught, he also took lessons at a local Omaha music store. Learning the songs of the times, Michael was heavily into Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.
By 1979 Michael had a Gibson SG and a Fender Princeton Reverb. Electrified, he soon played in local bands and in church from the age of 12 until 18. In 1985 Michael started touring the country in cover tune bands. Frustrated with cover tunes, he eventually went back to Omaha and began teaching guitar.