Gene Simmons, frontman for the legendary make-up-wearing rock and roll band, KISS, confirmed with MLive this week, much to the delight of soldiers in the KISS army everywhere — particularly Michigan — that the film about the band titled Cadillac High is fully funded and set to film in the Great Lake State.
The film documents the exciting and heart-warming story of the Cadillac, Michigan, high school Vikings football team whose 1974 season was disappointing… until the team began a pre- and post-game ritual of rockin’ out to KISS in the locker room. Suddenly, the team went from worst-to-first, eventually becoming conference co-champs that season.
In one of many documentaries posted to YouTube about the event that is circulating the web in recent years, the team’s coach, Jim Neff, said he had seen the band perform in Flint, Michigan, and thought their music would be perfect for helping loosen the players up before games. He also noted the connection between the band’s name and the old football mantra, “Keep It Simple Stupid.”
Usually the job of a coach is to build the playbook. But sometimes, the task is simply providing the right soundtrack.
But it wasn’t until the following year, when the band, having heard the incredible story of the KISS-clad Vikings 1974 winning season, planned a homecoming visit to the school that would become a life-altering event for the team, the city and even the band.
Simmons said “It was like landing on Planet KISS.”
Gene, Peter, Paul, and Ace arrived to a football field surrounded and covered by people in paint. After signing autographs and taking pictures, the band played a concert in the school gym.
Gene Simmons, who is frequently criticized for being arrogant and self-righteous, said “The show was less about KISS and more about the football team. It was a celebration for everybody.”
The next morning, October 10, 1975, the band had breakfast with city council members and the mayor of Cadillac, who also donned full KISS make-up during the meal. Later, the band was certainly the most popular unit in the homecoming parade.
Before the game, the band boarded a helicopter that made a surprise landing on the football field and rocketed away, leaving a dusting of autographed fliers fluttering to the ground. The fliers read “Cadillac High — KISS loves you!”
The MLive article says in 2012 the Michigan Film Office offered a “conditional” $8.2 million incentive to shoot the movie in Michigan, including the cities of Cadillac and Detroit.
While Simmons said that he has little details on the film, including any information about what the band’s role might be in it, he did say of the band’s 1975 trip to Cadillac, “This is a lifetime memory and a source of pride for us.”
[Image: tallemong via YouTube]