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This blog covers the culture of, on and around the Web. We consider ourselves curators of the moments when pop culture intersects with virtual trends.

December 9, 2010 at 11:22 AM

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playmybirthdaybillyidol.com: A unique local endeavor to bring the 80s rockstar to Seattle

Posted by Stephanie Clary

Thumbnail image for billy_idol2_1.jpg

Rick Springfield, Apolo Ohno and Kevin Nealon support Bothell's Michael Henrichsen's cause. So do 100 people on Facebook.

The cause? To get eyeballs on Henrichsen's website playmybirthdaybillyidol.com so 80s musician Billy Idol will want to play Seattle on Henrichsen's 25th birthday — Oct 22., 2011.

And while the movement hasn't yet earned viral designation, and it all appears to be a bit random, it does seem to be a serious effort. And it lacks the bratty undertones of "My Super Sweet 16."

"I want (Idol) to find out about this, see all the work that's been done, see how ridiculous and over the top it is, get a kick out of it, and be like, 'You know what? Let's go to Seattle and let's play a small club show,'" he said.

The website started a few months ago and features videos of celebrity endorsements (which were lobbied for at book signings and fan meetings), video venue profiles (to assist Idol in deciding where to play if he comes to Seattle) and fliers for visitors to print and spread the word about Henrichsen's mission (recently, it appeared in Canada).

On top of a full-time assistant managing retail job, a part-time internship and occasional street team work for Seattle Weekly, Henrichsen tries to update the website daily. It's obvious purpose is to get Idol to come to Seattle next fall, but it also gives Henrichsen a project he can pour his enthusiasm into.

"I'm putting a lot time into a project that I'm really enjoying doing, which is something I haven't had in a long time. But I don't want a private party. I don't want to just meet him," Henrichsen said.

Henrichsen said that he's even thought about making it a charity show, should Idol commit to a concert. That way, the concert could do some good and raise awareness for Idol's music, something his generation needs to be exposed to, he said.

Henrichsen and I spoke over the phone Wednesday. Here is a bit of our conversation about his website, why he chose Billy Idol and the top five songs he'd want Idol to play if his mission is successful.

Tell me how the blog started and when it started.
This whole blog project started this past October. Right after my birthday I had a conversation with my coworker, and they were saying, "Wow you had a fun birthday party this year, what do you have planned next year?"

Jokingly I said, "I'm going to get Billy Idol to play my birthday," and we laughed.

A week passed, and over the weekend (I thought), "Can we really get Billy Idol to get my birthday?" ... Nowadays, in 2010, things go viral, and if you put a lot of effort into things ... who knows?

I kind of got to a point where I was really bored in life. I'm only 24, but I work retail, I have two internships, I'm very complacent with where I'm at. I kind of wanted to go out and try something different.

Why Billy Idol? Is it because it's a little ironic? Or is he somebody you really grew up listening to?
It's interesting. He's probably the person I've seen most in concert, which is kind of bizarre. I've seen him three times in concert, and every time he's been amazing in concert. For some reason I have a fascination with 80s music in general ... I love karaoke, and he's a guy I love singing. ... A little bit of it was kind of random ... but he's probably one of my top five artists of all time.

Have you had contact with (Idol) before?
Absolutely not. No, the closest I got, the last concert he played here, I worked my way up to the guard rail. When he was singing "Rebel Yell," he was throwing out autographed drumsticks, and I caught one.

How many visitors would you say you get (on the website)?

I set up a Google Analytics page, and in the week that I've had Analytics, there's been 500 unique visitors. ... There's been 1,500 page views and then eight countries that have viewed the page: The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Turkey, Serbia and Poland.

What are the top five Billy Idol songs that you would want to hear if he came to Seattle?
Does it have to be in any sort of order?

No, no order.
First off, "Rebel Yell" has to be one. That's probably my favorite Billy Idol song.


Then, of course, you gotta get a dance classic: "Dancing With Myself." That's just a must-have.


"Eyes Without A Face" — more of a ballad-y Billy idol song. Love it.


"Flesh for Fantasy," — that's also kind of an older single of his that not as many people know.


And then, for the fifth one, I want to say "White Wedding" or "Mony Mony." I'll tie "White Wedding" and "Mony Mony."


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