I was first influenced by a friend in fifth grade when he brought a Walkman to school and was listening to 'Paradise City' by Guns 'N Roses, which he had concealed within his hoodie. He put the headphones over my ears and I was completely blown away by what I heard. I'll never forget that.
I first started actually playing guitar when I was eleven years old. I had some neighborhood friends who told me they were starting a band and needed a guitarist. I told my folks, and by the next day I had a guitar lesson set up with a local teacher.