JOHN LAURENT PASSES AWAY -- Cadillac High Principal in 1975
(Cadillac, MI – August 11, 2018) – John Laurent passed away on Friday, August 10, 2018. This marks a sad day in the history of the KISS Cadillac story. John was the Cadillac High School principal in 1975 when KISS came to Cadillac. He was instrumental in the decision making that led to the visit and became a legendary figure in the continuing story over the years. Without John's support the 1975 appearance of KISS in Cadillac would never have taken place.
KISS Cadillac fans will remember two of John's favorite remembrances of the KISS visit. In one he remarked about his efforts to unite different groups within the student body. He stated: “I had been trying to bring the student body together for a couple of years. KISS did that in one day.”
John is also remembered for a request he made before the 1975 concert. Knowing that Cadillac was a conservative town, he asked Gene Simmons to drop the blood spitting segment of the show. “Gene,” he said, “could you leave out the blood?” To which Gene replied: “Anything you want, John. No blood.”
John Laurent was 86 and was a KISS fan. More than that, he was a KISStory legend.
KISS Online published a Laurent tribute on August 15, 2018. KISS said: "We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of our friend John Laurent. Our deepest condolences and thoughts go to his family in these difficult times." Read it at KISSOnline.com.
TV 9&10 News did a great video tribute to John Laurent. Watch it here...
BILL SMITH PASSES AWAY -- UNSUNG HERO OF THE KISS CADILLAC LEGACY
Sad news for KISS fans. William Smith has passed away. Bill was the Superintendent of Cadillac Schools when KISS came to Cadillac in 1975 and played a major role in the KISS Cadillac legacy. He had the ultimate authority to approve or reject the plan to bring KISS to Cadillac. Bill's “yes” opened the way for one of the greatest stories in the history of Rock and Roll and a touchstone of KISStory. Smith (in a plaid sportcoat) is seen here with Peter Criss and at the civic breakfast with KISS.
KISSercise -- October 1, 2016 CADILLAC NEWS NEFF ZONE COLUMN
Get a step-by-step description of the Cadillac KISStory Tour route. Read here...
KISS CADILLAC TOUR NOW AVAILABLE JUST IN TIME FOR HOMECOMING -- KISSOnline
The lead item on KISS Online on September 30. Read here...
KISS GRAND RAPIDS CONCERT REPORT
KISS brought the Freedom To Rock Tour to Grand Rapids on August 13. The show was awesome. The Neff family got to attend the Meet & Greet before the show. Gene gave me a hug and said: "Jim, we're still here." I replied: "Yes, we sure are."
Here are some photos from the concert.
At the Saginaw concert on August 15, Veteran Roadies For the Day were Roger Bandeen (right) and Jerry Benson (left) of Cadillac. What a great honor it was to have these heroes representing Cadillac. Here they are backstage with Gene Simmons.
This mural is on the wall at KISS by Monster Mini golf at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The players depicted ar #44 Dave Schemmel, #74 Dave Hagstrom, and #61 Sam Siddall.
NEFF NAMED VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR BY CADILLAC AREA VISITORS BUREAU
The Volunteer of the Year Awards are bestowed upon individuals who offer their passion and time to assist, and sometimes lead the way, to offer festivals, activities and administrative support to further the missions of the respective organizations.
Jim Neff, a retired CAPS teacher, journalist and our ‘When Cadillac was KISSed’ connection was recognized as the 2016 CAVB Volunteer of the Year. During the introduction by Joy VanDrie, Executive Director of the CAVB, she said, “We want to make sure ‘This guy’ fully understands the gratitude we have for his continued support in bringing a ‘crazy bunch’ of visitors to our community.” Citing his involvement and leadership of initially bringing KISS to Cadillac in 1975, managing the relationship with the band and management team, several Kiss Tribute Band concerts over the years, personal Kiss Fan Tours, the assistance in design of the permanent Kiss Monument, and helping spearhead the Kiss Cadillac Homecoming Event. He continues to work with the CAVB staff to keep them abreast of the related news and updates from the band and fans around the world.
Not exactly a KISS story, but it's not often that you get to meet a Michigan Rock legend. Donny Hartman, an inductee in the Detroit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, played Cadillac's Freedom Festival.
I have been a huge fan of Hartman's since his days in the 1960s-1970s with the Michigan super group, The Frost. I saw The Frost many times in the Flint area. Hartman has also played with Pink Floyd, Joe Walsh, Allman Bros., Golden Earring, Three Dog Night, The Supremes, Moody Blues, Fleetwood Mac,
Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Joe Cocker, and many more.
Getting to watch this legend perform and also getting to finally meet him was a big thrill.