"I'm like, how feasible is it?" he says. "I realized it would cost a lot of money, something I don't have, so that's where the creativity came into play. How do you network to convince Billy Idol that it would be a good idea for him to come play a show on a specific date in Seattle?"
The first step was getting a friend, Jim Stamper, to build him a website, www.playmybirthdaybillyidol.com . "I thought it was never gonna work," Stamper says.
The next step was to get people to look at the website. Henrichsen hauled a boom box through a deserted Pike Place Market at night, dancing as "Mony Mony" blared, then posted a video of it. He and friends held a banner over Interstate 5.
But the site didn't start getting much attention until he decided to collect some celebrity endorsements. Comedian Kevin Nealon came to town to do standup, and Henrichsen got him on a 12-second video, telling Idol, "You gotta come to Seattle next October to do ..."
"Michael," Henrichsen prompts.
"... 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 Idol's people. They called 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 Idol's manager, Tony Dimitriades. "But as Michael's campaign continued, his persistence and resourcefulness won Billy over."