When it comes to tenacity, you’d be hard pressed to beat Michael Henrichson.
For the last three years the 25-year-old has dedicated much of his waking hours to convincing rock star Billy Idol to play his birthday party. He’s called, written, texted and tweeted. He’s gotten a number of celebrities to record videos endorsing his effort. He’s staged fundraising concerts for Northwest Harvest. But so far, no Idol.
And now he says he’s giving it his last best shot.
“Part of it is my stubbornness and not being able to take no for an answer. Part of it is I’m still keeping in touch with Billy Idol’s people,” Michael says.
He scored a moral victory of sorts last fall when Idol sent a personalized birthday greeting video.
“Who knows, there’s always next year,” Idol says in the video, perhaps hinting at a possible appearance in Seattle.
Regardless, Michael calls his ongoing campaign a success. Last year his 80’s cover band Nite Wave played to nearly 1,000 people at the Showbox at the Market, raising nearly $5,000 for Northwest Harvest.
Michael says he came up with the original idea after graduating from college. With a love of 80’s music he inherited from his mom, he set out to break into the music or entertainment industry. So far, he hasn’t been able to land a job doing what he wants but he’s gotten a lifetime of experience in a few short years.
“The music industry is very interesting I will say I’ve learned a lot more about business and music business in this project probably than I did in the four years of college that have left me $40 or 50,000 in debt.”
While he hasn’t been able to convince Idol to play, he’s garnered a ton of media coverage and made friends all over the world. He says he’s learned a lot about tenacity.
“I’ve plugged away at it and there’s been a lot of support from a lot of people out there,” he says.
Michael admits there’s been plenty of frustration. He says his dedication to the effort has taken a toll on his personal life.
“It’s a big responsibility raising money for charity at a venue of that size. The time I spent driving places to get celebrities, the money I’ve spent into promotion and marketing, it’s definitely been a second or third full time job.”
So Michael’s giving it one last try. He’s putting on Billy Idol Aid 4 Saturday August 18 at the Showbox at the Market. It’ll again benefit Northwest Harvest and the American Red Cross. Michael continues holding out hope that after years of work, Billy Idol just might actually play his birthday party.
“Billy Idol’s people know that if we don’t have an answer from him by the 18th this project is over. So let’s cross fingers and hope for the best,” Michael says.
Listen to our interview with Michael Sunday at 3 p.m. on Seattle Sounds on 97.3 KIRO FM.