The KISS Homecoming

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The Story of the 1975 KISS Visit to Cadillac, Michigan


In October of 1975, Cadillac High School in Cadillac, Michigan made Rock 'n' Roll history when KISS played at their homecoming. Here is the full story about that visit presented by Jim Neff, the person who made it all happen. All those rumors you've heard about what took place are answered here. Included are never-seen photos, original documents, news articles, videos, and commentary..


The Story Starts Here -- by Jim Neff

KISS AutographedIn 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.





(August 3, 2015) -- Ticket information for the Mr. Speed concert on October 10

VIP and General Admission concert tickets are now on sale at Purchase online now! . For all the details...CLICK HERE.  

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(June 20, 2015) -- The Story of the KISS Key

Have you wondered about whatever happened to the Key to Cadillac given to KISS in 1975? Read the story here...

(June 20, 2015) -- KISS Cadillac eBay auction for rare Cadillacan Newspaper

My eBay auction for the Cadillacan newspaper from the 1975 KISS visit to Cadillac was successful! The winning bid was $269.11, which will go to the KISS Cadillac Monument Fund. I want to thank the great KISS fans who bid on this piece of memorabilia. Now I call on every other KISS fan to keep that spirit moving forward and donate to the fund at ! 

(June 6, 2015) --  KISS Cadillac update 1

“Details, give me the details.” Since the news of the KISS Cadillac Homecoming 40th Anniversary Celebration was officially announced in the Cadillac News on April 15, that's what people have been asking me in person and via email and social media. We're still about four months away from the October 9-10 weekend, so there several things are still in the planning stages. That said, this is a good time for an initial update.

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 clubs. A committee of local citizens and many volunteers are working hard to make this event a success. The goal for everyone involved is to do something positive for the City of Cadillac and the students at Cadillac High School.

Part of that overall goal is not to replace the traditional CHS homecoming, but to enhance it. The key components of homecoming (the pep assembly, the parade, the football game, the homecoming dance) will remain the same. Members of the planning committee met with representatives of CHS student government to explain the proposed enhancements and the students were supportive and excited.

At this point the main components of the KISS Cadillac weekend are in place. First will be the homecoming parade on Friday afternoon (October 9). Adding to the traditional class floats, there may be additional floats with a KISS theme. The CHS Marching Vikings will be playing some KISS tunes. And we hope to have members of the 1974 and 1975 football teams marching in the parade as well.

On Friday night the focus will be on the football game. As Coach Brines used to say, “You can have the football game without homecoming, but you can't have homecoming without the football game.” The game and traditional halftime ceremonies will be the centerpieces as always. We're hoping visitors to Cadillac for the weekend will come to the game, making it one of the biggest homecoming crowds ever.

On Saturday morning (October 10), the KISS Cadillac Monument will be unveiled. This eight-foot tall, black granite masterpiece features pictures of the 1975 KISS visit plus the stories of the 1974 and 1975 Cadillac High football teams and all the game-by-game scores from each season. This will be paid for by sponsors and donations, so everyone can be a part of KISStory by participating in the funding of the monument. Every single donation, big and small, is important.

To assist this effort, beginning June 10 on eBay, I'm auctioning a rare KISS Cadillac artifact from my personal collection. It is the Cadillac High School Cadillacan newspaper from May, 1976, which detailed the KISS visit. It has 12 pages, 23 pictures, and reprints of articles written about the event. This is the real deal, not one of those unauthorized reprints offered by unscrupulous vendors at KISS conventions. It has the beautifully aged patina you would expect for a 40-year-old newspaper, which makes it even more desirable for any KISS collector. There are not many of these original copies left anywhere in the world. Every penny from this eBay auction will go directly to the monument fund. For details and a link to this auction, plus information on how everyone can donate to the fund, go to and click on Donate or (which includes a step-by-step guide).

Of course the most well known part of the 1975 KISS visit was the concert in the CHS gym. KISS will be on tour in Australia next October, plus it's really not logistically possible to have them play here, given how big they've become. (See for a longer explanation.)  

However, we will be re-creating the concert in the gym with the best KISS tribute band in the world – Mr. Speed ( You may remember that in 2009 Mr. Speed played to a sold out audience in the CHS auditorium. They followed that with a sold out 2010 show at the Little River Casino in Manistee. In 2012, Mr. Speed traveled to Las Vegas and came away with the title -- "World's Best KISS Tribute Band." In a contest judged by KISS lead guitarist Tommy Thayer, Mr. Speed bested 200 other tribute bands from around the world and won that designation. In 2014, Mr. Speed was chosen to appear on AXS TV's "World's Greatest Tribute Bands" series, another testament to the band's status. Now add in two performances at The Wex and an acoustic show at the former McGuire's Resort (now Evergreen) and it's pretty plain that Mr. Speed has shown its affinity for Cadillac and the KISS Cadillac story.

So, on October 10 we'll be re-creating the concert in the gym – with an interesting twist. The concert will be from 2:00-4:00 PM (in the afternoon). We looked at several time slots on Friday and Saturday. The football game is on Friday night and we did not want to tamper with that. The homecoming dance is on Saturday night, an event that is attended by 80 percent of CHS students, so we did not want to alter that.

An afternoon concert makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Visitors to Cadillac will have time to explore the town before and after the concert. With an ending time of 4:00 PM, concert attendees have plenty of time to patronize restaurants and pubs after the show. Alumni groups can schedule get-togethers after the concert. If you want to bring children to this all-ages concert you don't have to worry about bedtimes. Teens can attend the concert and still go to the dance. We think that an afternoon concert will make it easier for everyone to attend and it will also be good for Cadillac businesses.

Well, that's it for now. More details will be announced soon in future columns, including more about concert ticket sales. Continuing information updates will be on the event website at,  on Facebook at,  on Twitter at,  in the Cadillac News in print and on,  and on  


 (April 15, 2015) -- 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 history.

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 clubs.

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 and ticket information for the KISS tribute concert featuring Mr. Speed will be announced soon.

There are sponsorship opportunities and ways for KISS fans to donate to the monument fund. Every donation is important, big or small, so this is a chance for everyone to become a significant part of KISStory. Click here for a monument donation guide. Click here for sponsorship opportunities.

Continuing information updates will be on the event website at, on Facebook at, on Twitter at, in the Cadillac News in print and on, and on Event details and information about visiting Cadillac will be on the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau website at

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.


My Picture With KISS 

Jim with KISSI'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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