Born and raised in Summerlin, Nevada to parents Sandra and George. He attended Bishop Gorman High School. He studied creative writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas but dropped out after a semester to focus on music. Ross got a guitar for Christmas when he was 12, and began collaborating with best friend and future Panic drummer, Spencer Smith. Ross and Smith mostly covered Blink-182 songs with Ross on vocals. Their band was called Pet Salamander.