"KISS Mania Grabs High School in Cadillac, Michigan"
The Cadillac Evening News
October 10, 1975
CADILLAC - It looked like a scene from a science-fiction movie at the Cadillac
High School homecoming bonfire last night: hundreds of young faces painted up
like worshippers of some alien race about to descend in their midst. But it was
just part of the KISS mania that rocked and rolled into town earlier in the day.
Towering in platform boots and wearing second skins of black leather, the four
members of the heavy metal rock band KISS arrived at the high school in the
afternoon to a tumultuous welcome from students massed on the lawn. Wading
through the students, the paint-masked rock stars entered the gymnasium for
more photos and then were escorted to a classroom to view a film, made by
several members of the football team, that mimed the KISS show.
The next stop was the band rehearsal room for questions from the players and
cheerleaders, as photographers continued snapping away. Then on to the football
field for more photos with the team and the marching band, which had learned
several KISS tunes for the occassion.
Through all this, a small sea of whitened faces with black eyes followed the group
as closely as possible; reporters and photographers squeezed through the crowd.
Evening festivities began with the bonfire, though no one would light it until Gene
Simmons, KISS bass player, showed up to display his fire-breathing talent. Then it
was time to burn the effigy of a Chippewa Hills Warrior and head for the gym and
main event: KISS in concert.
The crowd moved steadily in, the faces of parents standing out for their lack of
decoration. Sound and lighting equipment filled the stage and to either side of it
stood more speakers. The students greeted the warm up band Double Yellow Line
with mixed reactions, a few yelling for KISS to come out. But they soon got in the
mood when the band played several hard rockers.
During the break between acts, the crowd stretched in what little room they had,
the tension mounting steadily. Once the equipment for KISS was set, the audience
began shouting and clapping with every check of the lights or movement of a
Suddenly the lights went out, and it was time. KISS popped onto the stage and a
roar went up from blackened lips. Giving their blessing to Cadillac and the Vikings,
KISS started pounding out their hits. It was a fast-paced show -- there were flames,
flashes and smoke to go with the colored lighting. The din was incredible as wild
cheering mixed with raucous guitars and drums. There was a short break and KISS
and representatives of the school exchanged commemorative plaques. After several
brief retreats from stage near the end of the show, KISS came back to do the song
students and teachers had been chanting all day, "I want to rock and roll all night,
and party every day." As the gym filled with the chorus, foam snow came billowing
down from above the band. While the final chords were still echoing loudly in
everyone's ears, KISS was gone and the lights came up to reveal a tired and
somewhat dazed audience. There was still school today to get some sleep for,
though, for many, the excitement probably made it difficult.
"For years we have been trying to unite the student body and faculty. KISS
accomplished that in one night," quoted from Cadillac Principal John Laurent at a
press brunch earlier honoring the group where they were also presented with the
key to the City from the Honorable Raymond Wagner (Mayor of Cadillac, Michigan)
and his lovely wife. Also in attendance were Donald Mason, City Manager, William
Smith, Superintendent of Schools, Dave Brines, Cadillac High School Football Coach,
and Jim Neff, Assistant Football Coach. All were in full KISS make-up when KISS
presented the above officials engraved plaques making them honorable KISS
Today, the band was expected to participate in the homecoming parade before
departing Cadillac for the rest of their national tour. But they won't soon by forgotten
by CHS and the students that wildly welcomed them to Cadillac.
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