It was probably decided even before Michael’s birth that he would be a musician. His Grandfather owned a music store and was said to have played pedal steel guitar with Hank Williams, on a few of his honky tonkin’ road gigs through the mid-west. Michael’s mother was a dance instructor and his father was an officer in the U.S. Army; both were record collectors and big music fans.
From his earliest memories Michael Tinholme was exposed to music of all styles. Jazz, Gospel, Country, Rock-n-Roll and Classical were played non-stop in their traveling home. Over the years his parents took him to see concerts of legendary artists such as Duke Ellington, Count Bassie, Lionel Hampton, Mahalia Jackson, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, The Vienna Boys Choir and even David Bowie, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones.
Very early on, his parents began to notice that Michael could emulate the singing styles of almost any singer that he heard. At the age of five his mother who was a dance instructor introduced him to tap dancing. At the age of six Michael began his formal music training with piano and voice lessons. He started playing the drums at ten, and around this time he became a singer-soloists in the family church choir.
Michael played his first professional gig at the age of 12 years old. As a teenager Michael often appeared at clubs in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He played regularly at a club called The Four Muses where he was encouraged by the owners Jim and Mary Jenkins who were instrumental in helping launch the careers of Jackson Browne, Melody, Jennifer Warren and others.
During this time, Michael was fortunate to have a friendship with Scat Man Carruthers and even had the honor of performing on-stage with him. Scat Man saw Michael’s talent and encouraged and advised him to study music, learn as many instruments as possible and to write and act.
His parents began pursuing a child acting career for Michael with the help and under the management of Dirwood Kirby Jr. (Candid Camera). Michael was also a member of and acted at the Cabrillo Playhouse and The Laguna Moulton Theatre.
Michael Tinholme’s mother suffered from a lifetime of mental illness and was diagnosed as a paranoid psycoprhenic with frequent violent tendencies. She spent years of her life and Michael’s childhood in and out of mental hospitals. For what seemed like his own self-preservation, that soon turned to his own self-destruction, Michael fled his home at the age of 15. He hitchhiked up and down the west coast; pan handling, working odd jobs, picking produce in the Salinas Valley and even worked within sight of his childhood home in the Capistrano Valley as a day laborer. As an underage kid Michael worked odd jobs as a dishwasher, cook and any other work he could find. He spent time lost on the streets and shelters of skid row in Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
After six years of homelessness, Michael came off the streets at 21 years old. He soon put a band together and began to gig again. He was promptly signed to a management contract and was soon being courted by top record labels. Michael Tinholme was still tormented by the demons that put him on the streets as a teenager and the pressures for success were great. Unable to cope with the expectations that went beyond singing and performing Michael ran away from his band "Many Roads," his manager Jim Nestor and all the wonderful opportunity’s that were presented to him.