His mother, painter Eve Mass, was from Holland. His father Anthony Goins Sr., from North, Carolina, was a musician. Tone was born in New York City.
At age 6 he built his own guitar out of scrap wood, nails and rubber bands. Although it did make sound was wasn't playable as a musical instrument. His parents were impressed with his creativity and bought him a second hand Harmony Airline Stratotone electric guitar but couldn't afford an amp. He immediately taught himself the chords to The House of the Rising Sun.
When he was 12 he heard about The Tom Scholz Rockman headphone amp. He pled, argued and badgered his mother until she finally gave in and bought him one. He practiced constantly to the excursion of everything else. Schoolwork, sports, friends, TV and sometimes even meals went neglected when he was practicing. His mother would often find him late at night asleep with his headphones on and his guitar in his hands. He started playing live at age 13 with his band The Footnotes.