” Michael’s birthday. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Endorsements from other B- and C-listers followed: musician Rick Springfield, former Seattle Mariner Jay Buhner, porn star Ron Jeremy. Hanging out at book signings and other celebrity appearances became a fourth job. Only Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue and comedian Tom Green turned him down.
Local media outlets started to notice, and the Google news alerts made their way to Mr. Idol’s people. They called Mr. Henrichsen and told him the campaign was cool, but that they couldn’t promise anything.
“When we first became aware of Michael’s project, we were inclined to see it as just another extreme idea from a well-meaning fan,” said Mr. Idol’s manager, Tony Dimitriades. “But as Michael’s campaign continued, his persistence and resourcefulness won Billy over.”
It took awhile, though.
In the meantime, Mr. Henrichsen, who sings, plays guitar and does a passable Idol impersonation, put together an ‘80s cover band, Nite Wave. They began playing a series of charity concerts dubbed Billy Idol Aid and raised more than $10,000 for the American Red Cross and Northwest Harvest, which supplies meals to food banks.
But when October 2011 came around, Mr. Idol didn’t show. Instead, he sent a video saying he was sorry he couldn’t make it — but there was always next year.
Though some friends and family were a bit tired of the project, Mr. Henrichsen decided to give it one more year. He had bimonthly chats with Mr. Idol’s people to update them on his status. Eventually, the Showbox, a Seattle venue that hosted some of the Billy Idol Aid events, made an offer to host the event at its location south of downtown.
Finally, in August, Mr. Idol’s people called from Japan, where he was touring, and said Mr. Idol was in, with his band. Mr. Henrichsen said he started screaming and running laps around the mall.
And when 900-plus people showed up for Billy Idol Aid IV, they were treated to an official video announcement from the man himself.
“The people of the world have spoken,” Mr. Idol thundered. “The dream will become reality.”
“It’s going to be pretty much the coolest night ever,” said Mr. Henrichsen, whose birthday was Monday. “We’ll have as much fun as possible before we get to the 9-to-5 part of my life.”
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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