KISS band members pose at the Cadillac firehouse in 1975.
Courtesy Jim Neff
In the fall of 1975, with Cadillac High School’s varsity football team disheartened after losing its first two games, assistant coach Jim Neff started playing KISS albums in the locker room to rev up the players and emphasize the no-nonsense game plan: K.I.S.S., meaning “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” The team, inspired, won every game from that point forward, and a year later Coach Neff shared the story in a letter to the band’s management. The move proved to be pure rock wizardry. “I was sitting in my easy chair one night and I get a phone call from backstage at a KISS concert somewhere—and it’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley,” Neff says. “I was flabbergasted.” Some secretive planning followed, and KISS soon rolled into Cadillac—pyrotechnics and all—to play a surprise homecoming show in the high school’s gym. The band even starred in the homecoming parade, tossing candy (Hershey’s Kisses, of course) from a flatbed float while decked out in full KISS regalia.
It’s been 32 years since that fateful October—any chance the royalty of rock might someday return? “In this day and age, you just can’t sneak KISS into town,” Neff says. “People still talk about it. But it can never happen again.”