Cadillac celebrates 40th anniversary of Kiss band visit
Cadillac — A small northern Michigan city is celebrating the 40th anniversary of an unforgettable visit by rock ‘n’ roll band Kiss with two days of events and a monument dedicated to the band.
The flamboyant band visited Cadillac in October 1975 to meet the high school’s football team, which credited Kiss’ music for its winning season the previous year.
Kiss rode in the homecoming parade, performed in the school gym and ultimately departed Cadillac from the football field in a helicopter, showering fans with hundreds of “Kiss Loves You” cards.
“When the band started playing, it was so loud, one person said it was like swimming against the current,” said retired assistant football coach Jim Neff, who spearheaded the visit in 1975. “People in town got to hear the concert even if they didn’t attend.”
Neff, who lives a few blocks from the school, recalls pulling the cards from his shrubs.
“I think everybody thought somebody was throwing garbage out of the helicopter and you didn’t know what it was until you got one in your hand; and it said ‘Cadillac High — Kiss Loves You,’” said David Schemmel of Rockford, who was a junior running back at the time.
A black granite monument dedicated to Kiss will be unveiled Saturday afternoon beside the football field during an event commemorating the visit. Kiss is unable to attend, but the band put together a video tribute to mark the occasion, WZZM-TV reported.
Other events include Friday’s homecoming parade and a Saturday concert by a Kiss tribute band.
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons said recently he remembers the Cadillac show as if it was yesterday.
“We never imagined the entire town would dress in Kiss makeup. And the street would be renamed Kiss Boulevard,” Simmons told MLive.com. “It was almost as if we were on a Kiss Spaceship and landed on Planet Kiss.”
A film called “Cadillac High” based on the band’s 1975 visit is in the works, Simmons said.