The Story Starts Here -- by Jim
In 1973 the Cadillac High School Vikings football team finished undefeated with a perfect 9-0
record. Spirits were soaring as the 1974 season began, but the Vikings lost the first two games of the
season. We coaches knew that the team was talented, but we also knew that the pressure of living up
to the accomplishments of the previous year were causing the team to play below their abilities. We were
looking for something to lighten the atmosphere and playing Rock and Roll in the locker room before practices
and games was suggested. As the resident
Rock and Roll expert, head coach Dave Brines gave me the task of picking the music. I chose a new and
outrageous band -- KISS. They were wild, bold, and loud. Plus, their name invoked an old football credo --
Keep It Simple Stupid. It was a match that was meant to be. The 1974 team won its final seven games with KISS
as an inspiration. The band heard about what we were doing and instantly adopted the Vikings as their team.
Then in October of 1975 the unbelievable happened, KISS came to Cadillac High School and played a homecoming
concert in the high school gym. It's an event that has become a cornerstone of KISStory and a legendary
event in Rock and Roll. The story has persevered throughout the years. This website presents photos,
documents, videos, articles, unique features, and current news about the KISS visit.
(April 10, 2015 – Cadillac, MI) – On October 9-10, 2015, Cadillac will celebrate
the 40th Anniversary of the KISS Homecoming at Cadillac High School. The
legendary rock band KISS visited the small town of Cadillac in 1975 to connect with their
football team and perform a concert in the gym, a story that has become iconic in Rock and Roll
This year's homecoming coincides with the
120th Anniversary of Cadillac Viking football, so special festivities are being
planned. The weekend will include: The homecoming football game, KISS-themed additions to the
homecoming parade, a re-creation of the concert in the gym (featuring the World's Best KISS Tribute
Band – Mr. Speed), the unveiling of a permanent KISS monument, walking tours of KISStorical markers
at significant spots around town, promotions by local businesses, and much more.
Joy Vandrie, Director of the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau, expects
the weekend will have great appeal to KISS fans. “This event will garner world wide attention and
not only attract many visitors to Cadillac for this unique weekend, but also establish Cadillac as
a permanent KISS tourism destination.”
The KISS Cadillac Homecoming is a collaborative event with Cadillac
Area Festival & Events, Cadillac Area Public Schools, the Cadillac Viking Athletic Boosters,
and the Cadillac Band Boosters. All NET proceeds from the event will benefit the two booster
A committee of local citizens and many volunteers are working hard to
make this event a success. Committee member Jim Neff, the person responsible for bringing KISS to
Cadillac in 1975, adds: “We have the total backing of KISS and their management at McGhee
Entertainment. The goal for everyone involved is to do something positive for the City of Cadillac
and the students at Cadillac High School.”
A schedule of events, ticket information for the KISS tribute concert
featuring Mr. Speed, sponsorship opportunities, and ways for KISS fans to donate to the monument
fund will be announced soon.
Continuing information updates will be on the event website at
www.kisscadillac.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kisscadillac, on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/kisscadillac, in the Cadillac
News in print and on www.cadillacnews.com, and on
www.neffzone.com/kiss. Event details and information
about visiting Cadillac will be on the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau website at www.cadillacmichigan.com.
The "Cadillac High" Movie
A project is in the works for a movie about the
KISS visit to Cadillac. Stay tuned for more details
as they come available.
- March 28, 2015: Cadillac News front page
article -- Ready to rock.
- September 20, 2014: Cadillac News Neff Zone column -- "The Monday
that started it all." The begiining of the legend.
- August 1, 2014: Front Page in the
Cadillac News. Simmons says movie is a "go."
- July 30, 2014: MLive.com
article: KISS Film Fully Funded says Gene Simmons.
- January 14, 2014: Front Page article
in the Cadillac News. Click here for a pdf of the newspaper
- August 22, 2012: Front page article in the
- March 10, 2012: NeffZone column in the
- March 7, 2012: News article in the Cadillac News.
- March 6, 2012: News article on MLive.com.
- March 6, 2012:
TV report on Cadillac's TV 9&10 News.
My Picture With
I've done hundreds of newspaper, television,
and radio interviews about the KISS visit to Cadillac. Plus, I've retold the story to thousands of KISS fans
in personal meetings, phone calls, and e-mails. One of the most asked questions has always been, "May I have a
picture of you and the band?" Sadly, I've never been able to
fill those requests because, as odd as this sounds, no such photo exists. With all that went on in 1975
getting my picture taken with KISS was overlooked. In the 35 years since, the opportunity just never presented
itself. On September 11, 2010 KISS was at DTE Energy Theater outside
of Detroit. Through the kind efforts of McGhee Entertainment the Michigan-based members of my family were all
treated to the concert, all-access passes, and pictures with the band. Upon seeing me Paul exclaimed: "Jim, you look exactly the same. You haven't changed at
all." When I attempted to reintroduce myself to Gene he stopped me
immediately. "I know who you are, " he said. About Cadillac he added, "That's become a wonderful story, hasn't
it." The occasion was also my 7 year-old grand daughter's first KISS
concert. Paul called her "Sweetie" and Gene gave her a fist bump and told her she had a nice
smile. It was a wonderful evening, reinforcing that KISS has never
forgotten Cadillac. Thanks to the entire band and Melissa Madden at McGhee, I now have my picture.
-- Jim Neff --
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