Adrian was born in Long Beach, California and exposed to rock music very early by his hippie parents. He became a fan of the band No Doubt from the start, attending their concerts after they formed in 1987. The same year he began playing the drums. In 1989, No Doubt announced that they were looking for a new drummer, and Young auditioned. He got the position, joining the band in time to be heard on their first hit albums. At the audition, he lied and said he had been playing for six years.
Adrian Young has spiky brown hair and is known among fans of contemporary music for his affinity for wearing thongs. He can often be seen topless and in his thong in the band's music videos.