Tag Archives: Kiss

When KISS rocked Cadillac, Michigan

Every single thing about this article from FOTO magazine is amazing: “When KISS Rocked Cadillac – KISS was on the cusp of superstardom when a small, conservative town in northern Michigan invited the band to visit. The rest is rock history.”

It sounds like a Hollywood screenwriter’s fantasy: a small-town high-school football team turns around a losing season, inspired by the music of wildly theatrical rock and rollers from New York. The team contacts the group with an unlikely ask: Would they consider visiting, so the town can say thanks? The band, on the cusp of superstardom, agrees — resulting in one of the most improbable, wholesome, heartwarming stories in rock history. But this was no movie: the year was 1975; the town was Cadillac, Michigan; and the band was KISS. Here, after unearthing never-seen photos from the event, FOTO celebrates an unrepeatable pop-culture moment, and speaks with a man who helped make it happen.

Cadillac is a small town (population: 10,000) in the middle of rural northern Michigan. As a kid we would drive through it on our way “up north” to nicer places like Petoskey or Mackinac island. The expressway ended right before you got to Cadillac so we’d often stop at the Dairy Queen or the Big Boy. We’d gawk at the sign for a place called Stopless Topless. But in 2001 MDOT extended the expressway all the way up to Manton and since then there hasn’t been any reason to stop in Cadillac.

But back in 1974 Cadillac High’s assistant football coach played the team KISS music in the locker room to inspire the team. They went on to have a winning season and the coach wrote to KISS to thank them. So the next year when KISS was on their Alive! Tour they were invited to participate in the homecoming parade and receive the key to the city.

This isn’t a new story. And there was a lot of local press around it in 2015 for the 40th anniversary. But FOTO has found a trove of previously unpublished photos taken by Irish music journalist Fin Costello, and they’re unbelievably awesome. See for yourself.

And then check out some of the previous coverage and photos, because it’s all great.

“When KISS Visited Cadillac High School in 1975” by Lou Blouin (Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, October 2015).

“Gene Simmons on 1975 Cadillac High School concert and parade: ‘It was almost as if we landed on Planet KISS'” by John Gonzalez (MLive, September 29, 2015) with an equally great gallery of 23 photos that were given to Coach Neff by KISS in 1975 with permission to use with no restrictions.

“Cadillac’s connection with Kiss endures 40 years later” by John Hogan (Detroit Free Press, October 8, 2015).

“KISS does a high school Homecoming” by Danny Arruda (ESPN, March 1, 2010) with a bunch of great photos, including some in color.

Jim Neff’s Cadillac KISStory

Cadillac KISStory Tour!

And check out a great video, below, featuring archival footage from 1975 as well as some interviews from 2010 with Gene, Paul, the coach, a couple football players, and the head cheerleader, who has a story that shouldn’t surprise anybody.

Continue reading When KISS rocked Cadillac, Michigan

Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #16

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

# Cracking the pallophotophone code. Radio recordings from 1929-31 ft. the voices of Edison, Herbert Hoover, & Henry Ford. http://ow.ly/1Uhq4 2 minutes ago

# A great interview with Topspin’s Ian Rogers about the music biz: http://bit.ly/bwSs0E @iancr 22 minutes ago

# On This Day in 2004: “Glorious Noise is good” — Colin O’Malley, TRUSTe http://ow.ly/1UeSS Do you still follow us, @micshasan? about 1 hour ago

# RT @soundofthecity: The 10 Most Shocking Revelations About the Tragic Last Days of Gang Starr MC Guru http://bit.ly/cxBA2o about 2 hours ago

# Cool. RT @genesimmons: Hey, if you’re 14 years old or under, you can attend any KISS concert in the upcoming N. American Tour for FREE. about 19 hours ago

# “We support the boycott of Arizona.” RT @robertloerzel: Los Lobos cancels Arizona concert. http://www.loslobos.org/site/news.shtml about 20 hours ago

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 802 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this stuff as it happens…

Continue reading Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #16

Stooges Finally Make Rock Hall

Stooges at Lollapalooza, 2007Looks like the Stooges will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Iggy’s response is classic:

“We’ve been rejected seven times, and we would have set a record, I think, if it happened again,” the Stooges’ frontman tells Rolling Stone. “It started to feel like Charlie Brown and the football. I had about two hours of a strong emotional reaction after hearing the news. It felt like vindication. Then I kind of scratched my head and thought, ‘Am I still cool? Or is that over now?’ “

I’m equally excited that Abba made it too. I hope they collaborate at the ceremony.

“I didn’t think this would happen, because we were a pop band, not a rock band,” says Benny Andersson, who helped found the group in 1970. “Being a foreigner from the North Pole, this feels really good.”

In addition to those two awesome bands, the Hall will also induct Genesis, the Hollies, and Jimmy Cliff. Acts who were nominated this year, but didn’t make the cut: Kiss, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, LL Cool J, the Chantels, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, Donna Summer. Bet Gene Simmons is pissed.

It’s a shame that Ron Asheton didn’t live to see it happen. Nice timing, Wenner, you prick. You gonna wait until Peter Tork dies before letting the Monkees in?

Photo by Alan M. Paterson for Glorious Noise.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its nominees for 2010, and before I even start getting indignant again this year, I’m just going to take a breath and let it slide. As my man Sab pointed out last year, “It’s called the Rock and Roll Hall of FAME, not the I’m Punk Rocker Than You Hall of Obscurity.”

KISS, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, the Hollies, LL Cool J and Jimmy Cliff are first-time nominees among a dozen finalists for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, according to a list released this morning by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. They join returning candidates ABBA, the Chantels, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, the Stooges and Donna Summer.

The five inductees will be announced in January, and the Induction Ceremony will take place March 15. Artists are eligible 25 years after their first single or album release. Please check out who’s already in before you start bitching about who they left out.

Ace Frehley vs. the Phantom

Ace

Kiss was my favorite band when I was eight years old. My cousin Mike and I would act out all the songs and recreate our favorite scenes from Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. The above photo is my Ace Frehley action figure on my desk. Mike and I saw them back in 1998 and it was a culmination of my whole childhood. Objectively, the show probably sucked, but to me, it was awesome.

Magnet Magazine did a Q&A With Ace Frehley to talk about his new solo album, but this is my favorite part:

You have to sit through one of these in its entirety or you will be killed: Kiss Meets The Phantom or (Music From) The Elder. Which one do you pick, and why?

I just saw the Phantom movie for the first time in years a few weeks ago. I can’t speak for the other guys in the band, but I think it’s a campy, cult classic. I think it’s great. I just visited Magic Mountain this year, and a lot of memories about filming that movie came flooding back to me. The new coaster rides are awesome.

Ace is awesome. But he can’t sing. That’s one of the things I remember about the show I saw: my cousin Mike turning to me during Ace’s single turn at the mic and shaking his head and yelling, “Ace can’t sing!” Of course, that doesn’t make him any less awesome.

MP3: Ace Frehley – “Outer Space” from Anomaly, out September 15.

Ace Frehley: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Kiss – The Elder

Kiss - The ElderKissThe Elder (Casablanca)

When it comes to great bands, most acknowledged music experts don’t consider the merits of Kiss. When they do, it’s usually in tandem with the band’s marketing ability and the influence their music had on young kids. It’s true, ask a large sample of rock bands that achieved success during the past twenty years and a large percentage of the responses would probably name a few Kiss albums as the first rock album they ever purchased.

From that list, a few Kiss albums stand out: Destroyer and Rock And Roll Over. If Kiss does get any kudos, it usually involves one of those two albums. Maybe Alive. Sometimes Love Gun.

There’s one album that is regularly overlooked in Kisstory and it is ridiculed in certain rock circles as their major misstep. But the reality of this album’s greatness is very apparent the moment you listen to it with a fresh set of open ears. When you do, you’ll see that Kiss’ The Elder is not only one of the best albums in the band’s catalog, it’s one of the greatest albums in rock history.

Continue reading Kiss – The Elder

Colorfully Filthy Lucre

Quick: What do Madonna, Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Pantera, The Who (original lineup), Rob Zombie, AC/DC, Kiss, and Britney Spears have in common?

Chances are, the answer that you’ll reach, undoubtedly fanciful, will not be right. If it is right, then it may seem odd that you’re reading this website.

Continue reading Colorfully Filthy Lucre

This, Bud, Is For You

One of the issues regarding music is the degree to which it is calculated. Calculated in dollars and… more dollars. Let’s not be naïve. The music industry is an industry like any other. It is about selling goods and services with the purpose of making money. At the expense of all else.

Generally, we probably suspect that it’s the recording company executives and promoters who are the most bottom-line oriented, that they are the ones who hire the marketing people—the pollsters, analysts and publicists—and others who make up what has been aptly described at the “star-making machinery.” These are the ones who orchestrate everything, from the signage in record stores to the made-for-TV extravaganzas. They pick the “hits.” They orchestrate the appearances on whatever—from “Regis and Kelly” to “TRL” and everything at either extreme.

What we probably don’t do is perceive the musicians as being incredibly mercenary. Sure, we all know about the Brill Building and the hit-making methodology: Turn the crank and get a pop hit. We all know that musicians have car payments and utility bills. And we’re all aware of the ironic honesty of the Mother’s of Invention’s album title “We’re Only In It For the Money.”

Still, I’m sure that with exceptions—e.g., the evidently manufactured models whose musical talents make the late Milli Vanilli look like the Beatles—we figure that there is a degree of actual belief in artistry of what they are doing that bands have.

A clear differentiator is the music that is written for release as musical products in and of themselves and music that is written for commercials. The latter is often described with the diminutive “jingles,” as though we don’t want to accord them the full status of musical compositions. The commercial music is meant to sell another product; the released recording is fundamentally meant to sell itself. We assume that the motive of the commercial jingle composer to be thoroughly commercial. We give the released musical work our willing suspension of disbelief; we try to avoid thinking about the commercial motive, even as we pull out our wallets to hear the performers, physically or digitally.

And so listen to this from an interview in The New York Times Magazine (12/2/01, free registration required), conducted by John Glassie, with Gene Simmons, co-founder, with Paul Stanley, of Kiss:

“Music was never the point. I believe that music and inspiration and creativity are all way overvalued. Everybody who is in the arts likes to emphasize the romantic because it makes good copy. Well, I have a little bit of advice for all the new rock stars: if you’re queasy about all the money you’ve’ made, sit down and write a check to Gene Simmons for your entire net worth.”

Is that what it is all about? Does knowing that the music of Kiss was as calculated as a McDonald’s commercial make it something less? Are those people who may feel “queasy” knowing that the Kiss anthems that they once rocked to are nothing more than advertisements for selling more and more copies of themselves merely babes in the woods who deserve to be taken?

Simmons goes on to note:

“We have 2,500 licenses—everything from the Kiss coffin, which doubles as a Kiss cooler, to Kiss condoms. I’m starting some stuff outside of Kiss, too. There’s going to be Gene Simmons Tongue magazine. We’ve already got a preorder of a million without a single word written or photo taken.”

There has been some concern among the GloNo team members with regard to the limited reach that this site has vis-à-vis the world at large. Perhaps the real issue is that we’re insufficiently whorish. Henceforth, I think I’ll be looking for a sponsor for my items. I’ll take cash, checks, or money orders. No stamps, please.

Kiss touring without Peter Criss

So Kiss is touring without Peter Criss (update: new link), and the new drummer is going to be wearing the makeup and costume of “the Cat.” Why should I care? Why does this seem so blasphemous to me? Peter Criss has deteriorated into an awful drummer who can barely lift his sticks anymore. And as my wife said last night as I was ranting about the audacity of Gene and Paul allowing some imposter to pose as the Cat, “People should fucking retire before they get disgusting.” She was referring to the entire band in general, and her words made me stop and realize that maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up over Kiss. Why should I care? Why does this seem so blasphemous?

I’ll tell you why. Because Peter Criss was my favorite Kiss member back when I was seven in the glory days of the Kiss Army, and this whole reunion tour is all about recapturing those wild times when men wore clown makeup (scary clown makeup) and platform shoes. Without Peter Criss, it’s all just a sham — demon Gene swindling thirty-somethings out of their money. But then again, maybe they all should have retired long ago, because if you’ve seen any of them lately without the makeup, they’re pretty fucking disgusting.