Born Michael Theodore Malinin on October 10, 1967 in Washington, D.C. His family soon re-located to Miami, Florida where Malinin went to high school at Ransom Everglades in Coconut Grove. He began studying drums in the summer of 1979. His first instructor was Mike Cottom, and he then studied with Harry Hawthorne at the University of Miami until 1985, when he graduated from high school and headed to Denton, TX to attend the University of North Texas. While in Denton, Malinin played in many bands, including Angry Jasmine, Last Rites, and Caulk. He played on Caulk's first release entitled "Learn to Take." Malinin eventually dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles in July, 1992 with his friend and fellow musician Robert Cooper. After playing in various short-lived bands, he joined Careless (featuring Brian Baker) around 1994. Baker eventually left the band and began playing with Bad Religion, and Malinin landed a gig with the Goo Goo Dolls in January 1995.