In the fall of 1974, Cadillac High School's Viking football team was down in the dumps. The year before, it had gone undefeated and reached the state playoffs. Now, two games into the new season, the Vikings had suffered two straight losses. Figuring that their players simply needed to "loosen up," Viking coaches played music from the rock band Kiss in the locker room. Their goal was to help the players blow off steam. It must have worked, because the team won the rest of its games---victories that it credited to the face-painted rock band.
|Nothing says "football victory" like these guys.|
The story could have ended there, but Kiss members heard about the credit they received for Cadillac High's winning season, and decided to thank the players and the community in person. The next school year, in October 1975, the band arrived in Cadillac for a two-day celebration during the school's homecoming week. Kiss members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss first met with face-painted players and cheerleaders on the football field. Then they went into the high school for question-and-answer and photo sessions with students.
|I'm not sure where to begin with a caption for this photo.|
That night, in the school gymnasium, the band held a concert that was so loud, residents who lived two miles away could hear it.
|Kiss in concert at Cadillac High School|
The next morning, band members met for breakfast with Cadillac's mayor (whose face Simmons painted, Kiss-style) and members of the city council, then appeared in the high school's homecoming parade. The band ended its visit by taking off in a helicopter that had landed on Cadillac High School's football field.
The event must have been a dream come true for Cadillac High students, but it also made an impression on the band. Simmons later said the visit "was like landing on planet Kiss,” and remembered it as “a lifetime memory and a source of pride for us."
For more information:
YouTube has lots of videos about Kiss's visit to Cadillac. Here's one of them.
In 2012, news reports indicated that a movie based on Kiss's visit to Cadillac High was in the works, and was set to be filmed in Michigan. However, I haven't been able to track down any information indicating that the project proceeded beyond those initial reports. If you have an update, let me know!