09/30/2016

KISS Cadillac tour now available just in time for homecoming

By Chris Lamphere / http://www.cadillacnews.com

Homecoming is here, and while Cadillac isn't fixated on KISS like it was last year during the 40th anniversary of the rock band's visit to the city, the event is still on many people's minds.

In fact, some people are now cashing in on the phenomenon.

A 1976 edition of the Cadillac High School yearbook recently sold on eBay for $1,028. The yearbook highlights the band's visit heavily in its pages.

Jim Neff, assistant coach of the football team when the band came to town in 1975, said he checks eBay periodically to see if anyone has one of these books for sale.

"These yearbooks have gone for varying amounts in the past," Neff said. "I've seen people buy them for $500 to $600 but ($1,028) is the most I've ever seen one go for."

Neff said he expects these yearbooks to continue growing in value since there aren't many left at this point.

He said even the high school's copy of the book, which had been on public display in the library, was stolen years ago.

As the story goes, the band visited Cadillac when they learned the football team would listen to their music in the locker room to get pumped up before games.

While in town, the band took part in the homecoming parade and played a free show at the gymnasium before taking off in a helicopter at the football field.

There is now a tour people can take of various landmarks in Cadillac where the band stopped to take pictures on their way through town.

Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau Executive Director Joy VanDrie said Neff has been giving this tour for 40 years. The only difference now is that each location is marked.

A brochure available at the Visitors Bureau and Sweet Shop details each location on the tour:

Location No. 1 Veterans Memorial Stadium/KISS monument erected last year KISS topped off their visit to Cadillac by leaving via helicopter from Veterans Memorial Stadium. As they flew skyward, they tossed leaflets to the crowd below proclaiming "Cadillac High KISS loves you."

Location No. 2 Cadillac High School Gym/KISS concert Every piece of equipment the band had was squeezed into the gym except the giant KISS logo. Students made a KISS sign that served as the backdrop. Over 2,000 people, all in KISS makeup, packed the gym for the show.

Location No. 3 Old City Fire Hall, now Visitor's Bureau KISS atop a fire truck in Cadillac is one of the most famous images from the event in 1975.

Location No. 4 The Sweet Shop The Cadillac City Council approved the renaming of Mitchell Street to KISS Boulevard for the homecoming parade. Cadillac students made street signs and posted them at every corner.

VanDrie said those who visit kisscadillac.com can watch videos of Neff talking about each site on the tour.

Since last year, when the KISS monument was dedicated, VanDrie said she has had hundreds of people express interest in the band's visit and even come to town themselves to take the tour.

There were efforts earlier this year to bring the remaining members of KISS to Cadillac to see the monument but the band's hectic touring schedule prevented this from happening.

Neff and VanDrie said they were working with the band's management to set up a return visit.

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