Dave Farrell -- better known as simply Phoenix -- was born on February 8, 1977, in Plymouth, MA, but relocated with his family to California when he was still quite young. He picked up guitar first, largely taught how to play by his mother, but later moved over to the bass. During high school, Phoenix got involved in his hometown's local music scene and joined the Christian punk group Tasty Snax (later just called the Snax). After graduating high school, Phoenix attended the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with his degree in 1999. During college, he became roommates with guitarist Brad Delson, and was eventually convinced to join Xero, the band Delson had started a few years earlier with two of his high-school friends. Phoenix wound up leaving Xero -- which in the meantime would change names until ultimately settling down as Linkin Park -- in the late '90s after he was offered to tour again with his previous band, the Snax. As he stayed on the road for the next year or so, Linkin Park earned themselves a record deal with Warner Bros. in 1999 and issued their multi-platinum debut album, Hybrid Theory, the next year. They quickly became one of the most popular mainstream rock acts in the early 2000s, melding elements of rock, rap, and electronics more memorably and skillfully than any of their other nu metal peers. Phoenix rejoined the band's ranks soon enough and made his proper recording debut with Linkin Park on the group's 2002 record, Reanimation.