March 2019



THE 50-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of FLASH CADILLAC will be celebrated with a performance on Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Fine Arts Center located at 30 West Dale Street in Colorado Springs. The nationally-renowned Flash Cadillac performing artists (one of whom is our Class of 1966 Committee member Warren Knight) have been playing traditional rock n roll since 1969Posted on our class website since mid-Februarythe event will be in a theater that holds only 400 people and tickets will likely sell out quickly. The admission is $40 per person, and all seats must be reserved in advance via online ticketingTo select a specific seat in one of the three sections of the seating chart and to buy tickets, click here!

Although Flash Cadillacs 50-year anniversary will be observed on April 20Warren notes that the bands first paid performance took place 50 years ago on March 7 at a Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) function sponsored by an SAE fraternity house in BoulderPointing out that the band earned $100 and all the beer they could drinkWarren estimates that the frat-boy entrepreneurs” (Warren’s words,not mine) cleared over $300 by charging $1.00 admission for each of at least 500 attendees and buying a couple of beer kegs for $50 or less at the FAC event.

Upon learning that the Fine Arts Center was the venue for the upcoming Flash Cadillac performanceI instantly reflected back to my own childhood performance at the Fine Arts Center. ,While a little boy growing up in Colorado Springs my Mexican American grandfather and two uncles used to play the guitars and sing Mexican songs to me and my young cousins. Mexican dances were the first type of dances that I learned to do. Upon becoming fascinated with the Russian ballet dancers performing on black-and-white TV in the early 1950s, I told my mother that I wanted to learn ballet. With tips made from the Mexican bar where my mother always worked, I took ballet and tap-dance lessons at Mary Ruth Dance Studio and performed with my fellow dancers in a few recitals at the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs. Ballet made me so limber to enable me to do complete leg splits, back flips and front flips along with walking on my hands. Our classmate Bruce McAlexander vividly recalls to this day how amazed he was to see me perched on the school playground with my legs wrapped around my neck when we first met in our childhood years in Security.


YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED to a gathering of the WHS Class of 1966 on Saturday, April 20, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Poor Richard’s Restaurant (PRR) located at 324 North Tejon in Colorado Springs. The gathering will precede the above-described performance by Flash Cadillac at the Fine Arts Centerwhich is a few blocks away from PRR. If people do not want to gather at PRR and have another venue to meet for a meal that evening, by all means make the suggestionIf you do not plan to attend the Flash Cadillac performance and still want to join us for a meal, that certainly is fine. Please RSVP via email to:

Our events (meals, reunions, etc.) are always open to people from all WHS classes of the 1960sso please know that you are welcome even if you did not graduate with us.


AN INTERVIEW with WARREN KNIGHT was recently conducted by meAlthough I have been overwhelmed by a flurry of nonstop activity related to a few situations that showed up in my life at the same time from January 1 through the present, only recently did I have a little extra time to circle back to Warren about the upcoming historically-significant performanceThe full text of the interview is enclosed below immediately after my sign-off section.


COLORADO COLLEGE and the FINE ARTS CENTER began a formal alliance after it was approved by the boards of both institutions in August 2016. Following outreach that included listening sessions and a web-based comment process, the Strategic Planning Committee charged subcommittees to continue reaching out to identify strategic themes, goals, and initiatives to develop as the center and the college integrate their programs. Each subcommittee held community listening and small-group sessions to seek input. In all, the five committees held 40 meetings; and more than 800 comments were gatheredThe Strategic Planning Committee used the reports to produce one overall planFollowing another round of community feedback, the Oversight Committee adopted the plan in June 2017On July 1, 2017the center formally became the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado CollegeA four-year transition entailed focus on the museum in 2017, the art school in 2018 and the performing arts in 2019.


TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to:


This update was prepared by me.

 Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


 INTERVIEW with WARREN KNIGHT by Donnie Martinez

Donnie: With Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids as the bands original name, when and why was the Continental Kids part eventually dropped?

Warren: “The Continental Kids were dropped from the name in 1976.   The name Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids was created in 1969 as an intentional throwback, modeled along the lines of classic band names in the early traditional rock format, such as Dion and the Belmonts, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Joey Dee and the Starliters, etc. It was a great name for us and stood out as descriptive, quite catchy and very memorable. However, following the release of American Grafitti in the spring of 1973 (our screen name was Herby and the Heartbeats) and the films subsequent enormous nationwide popularity, many Holiday Inn lounge bands were swept up in the fad to change their band names to Skid Mark and the Victims (or similar) and play oldies. We felt that the uniqueness and originality of the pioneering Flash and the Kids name was becoming diluted by association with all the groups jumping onto the Graffiti band wagon. So we made the decision to drop the Kids and proceeded as simply Flash Cadillac.

 DonnieA brief online bio noted that your bands name originated with a guy named Hughey Plumley, who enjoyed creating names for bands while he socialized at Boulder’s well-known café bar called The Sink. Tell us more about him. Was he a friend or acquaintance of yours or other band members? Did he play an active role with your band or any of the other bands that he named? Was he considered the founding father of your band or other bands? Besides his creativity with names of bands, was he a visual artist or performing artist on any level?

Warren: Hughey Plumley was a musician from Grand Junction who met Harold Fielden (our founding drummer) sometime after arriving in Boulder.  He did not play any role in our band (was by no means a founding father). I wouldnt know of any activity or performance history he may have had with any other bands. His first rendition of the name was Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kits in reference to the trunk-mounted spare tire storage assembly on the Lincoln Continental; we personalized it into the “Kids.” So in the spring of 1969, Hughey had a name but no band and we had a band but no name, so we stole his name for our band. My older brother Brianwho was a CU law school freshman at the time, personally drove the paperwork to the state capital in Denver to register the name as a service mark.

DonnieAs someone who was a dancer and music lover ever since learning Mexican dances and ballet long before moving to Security where you and I were grade-school kids and later on teenagers, I always perceived you as very academic and I never pegged you as a music-oriented person back then in the 1950s clear up through our high school years in the mid-1960s. Was my perception of you correct or did you secretly have a love of music and the performing arts all of our childhood and teen years together in Security?

Warren: Your outward perception of me from grade school on as an academic was only partially correct. I was actually both a student and an athlete: Bruce McAlexander and I were starting guards on our sixth-grade basketball team (the Bullfrogs) at North Elementary; I played intramural football and basketball at Sproul Junior High and freshman football at WHS, then varsity tennis, basketball and baseball. But there was also some artistic expression along the wayIn sixth grade at North Elementary, Ron Petty and I split the role of Pinocchio in the fall drama production (he and I were about the same size back then). In about ninth grade, I joined the choir at Good Shepherd EUB Church and enjoyed learning how to sing baritone and bass parts sitting next to Art Olson (my father Ralph would sometimes join us  he was a choir singer and clarinetist in his high school days in south Denver).  In addition, in our senior year at Widefield I was recruited by Mrs.Coffee to join the Choralaires madrigal group. And all the while, from 1957 on, I loved listening to and singing along to early rock on the radio, and later to album artists such as the Kingston Trio, Beach Boys, Beatles, Byrds, etc.  When I quit the WHS basketball team as a senior in the fall of 1965, I bought my first instrument – a used acoustic guitar – from Barry Thompson (or Larry Hazlett?) and taught myself to play in the afternoons after school. So the love of music and the performing arts was always there but was late in developing.   

DonnieWhen you and other band members moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s to get a break in the music scene there, was it really a place of who you know, not what you know like many performing artists encountered for many decades?

Warren: Id say yes. In February of 1970, after a memorable and wildly successful open-mic type free audition on a Monday night in Hollywood at the Troubador, we signed with a personal manager. So we dropped out of college at CU and moved to Los Angeles in March of 1970. That first manager revealed himself to be a crook, and we then signed with a legitimate manager in L.A. that summer. The who you know aspect came into play in 1972, when George Lucas was preparing for the movie American Graffiti. As it turned out, his casting director Fred Roos had been in that audition audience at the Troubador two years earlier, still remembered Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, and recommended us to Lucas. We did a personal private audition in Hollywood for Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola (George’s mentor), filmed Graffiti in the fall of 72 at Mt. Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, CA and the rest is history.”

DonnieDuring your 50 years as a performing artist with Flash Cadillac, did you ever consider leaving the group? If so, why? If not, what factors kept you with the group for such a long time?

Warren: Only oncein September of 2001 following Sam McFadins unexpected death from a heart attack. Flash had lost Linn Phillips (Spike) to a heart attack at age 45 in 1993 and Kris Moe had retired from performing in 1996, battling ALS. So we had been a four-piece band for five years when we lost Sam just ten days before 9-11. After two months, with Dwights and Thumpers support, I decided to continue on a trial basis in order to perform some orchestra pops shows that were still on the books for the spring of 2002. We added Rocky and Tim to replace Sam,the pops concerts went well, and we moved ahead as "keepers of the flame."

DonnieWith the 1950s and 1960s music scene having an R&B component that was predominantly African American and the rock-and-roll component that was predominantly white, was that a coincidence or a reflection of the racial dynamics in that era? Which ways did both musical genres overlap?

Warren: Id say it was certainly a reflection of racial dynamics, but as a lover of traditional rock and roll, I loved and accepted both -- Clyde McPhatter and Buddy Holly; Ray Charles and Bobby Darin; Sam Cooke and Neil Sedaka; etc. The genres overlapped whenever good songs were recorded by talented artists.

DonnieWith the media periodically reporting on avid fans who travel all over the country to follow their respective favorite bands, does Flash Cadillac have loyal followers who go wherever you go?

Warren:  Not so much now, because were playing so infrequently and mostly just in Colorado.  Back in the day, fans would travel regionally to catch up to us.  For this special 50th, weve got fans/dear friends/family coming in from Arizona,California, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Washington.

DonnieWhat is your absolute favorite oldies but goodies song from the era of the 1950s through the early 1960s?

Warren: Can’t really answer that one, Donnie – don’t have an absolute favorite.Even if I came up with a list of 30, or 50 or 100, I’d probably feel I was leaving something out.

DonnieWhat was the most unusual offer to Flash Cadillac from an individual or business entity? Was the offer accepted or rejected?

Warren: I suppose one of the most unusual offers was from Francis Coppola to fly to the Philippines to film Apocalypse Now. We acceptedAs it turned out we had to make two ten-day tripsfirst attempt in May 1976 was aborted by two pre-season typhoons and we all came back with amoebic dysentery; second trip in December 1976 was successful.

DonnieIf you looked in the so-called crystal ball, what do you see for the future of Flash Cadillac and similar performing artists who specialize in oldies music?

Warren: My crystal ball would show me a dissolution of Flash Cadillac in the fairly near future, owing to the fact that when Ive had enough, Ill end it.  Still love playing traditional rock n roll, but a 50-year career is plenty. Other artists may want to keep going; I expect therell be an element of demand as long as there are some baby boomers alive who bought records in the 50s and 60s.

DonnieWith the current year 2019 being the focus of the performing arts as part of the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College alliance that formally occurred only two years ago, do you feel honored that Flash Cadillac was selected as part of their focus on the performing arts this year?

Warren: Yes, I feel honored. Professionally speaking, Flash Cadillac, as Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductees in 2012, is certainly among the Fine Artists that they could present. On a personal and sentimental level, Im excited to be celebrating Flashs 50th in my home town, as it were, and on the Colorado College campus just two blocks from Armstrong Hall where my mom, Jean Knight, worked for so many years in the 70s and the 80s as receptionist in the admissions office[I could have attended CC tuition free, but at that time I was too busy running around the country playing rock and roll.]

DonnieHow are the pre-event ticket sales coming along? Is the event already close to being sold out?

Warren: Ticket sales are going quite well, according to Scott Levy, Performing Arts Director at the CSFAC [Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center]. Weve sold out the $50 VIP tickets and have only about 200 tickets remaining six weeks before the event. 

DonnieIs there anything else you want to add?

Warren: Three things: (1) I appreciate your insightful questions concerning the career and history of Flash Cadillac; (2) I always wished I could dance as well as you and Tom Shepherd at the junior high parties and dancesand, (3) The Bird Is the Word! (Trashmen, 1963).