John Nicholas Oliva was born in the Bronx, New York on July 22, 1960. He was one of four children (Jo Ann, Tony and Christopher being the others). It was at a very early age that he got interested in music. According to a Conversation Piece interview, Jon states the following:
-My dad is a piano player, and we always had a piano in the house, so I started messing around with that. I was probably like 11 or 12. I was very impatient, so I kind of blew that by. There were [also] guitars around the house. It was just a gradual thing - a little bit of everything here and there. We bought a bass, because we had guitars, piano and drums - the one thing we didn´t have was a bass. So we went out and bought this shitty, teardrop-shaped, green bass, probably the ugliest bass in the whole world. It had black nylon strings - it was really awful. The strings [were] like six inches off the fretboard, but we had a bass, and I started dabbling with that. It was just a little bit of everything at one time.-
It was when the Oliva family made the move to California when Jon was a teenager that he started to become serious about music. The Oliva family remained in California for four years before moving to Dunedin, Florida in 1976.
Together with his brother Criss, they played their first public performance at a block party. Jon remembers the event well. Fotoquelle : http://www.jonoliva.net