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KISS News: Movie based on 1975 visit to Cadillac, Michigan in the works

by on Mar.10, 2012, under LINKS, ROCK NEWS, VIDEO

KISS News: Movie based on 1975 visit to Cadillac, Michigan in the works

Plans are in place to develop a movie inspired by the legendary two days in 1975 that Kiss spent bonding with the citizens of Cadillac, Michigan .

"Cadillac High," a feature film project, has received conditional approval for the state's film incentives. It expects to spend about $27 million in Michigan and would receive slightly more than $8 million in incentives, according to the Michigan Film Office's 2011 annual report.

The Detroit Free Press has reported that the movie would be based on the real story of the mutual love affair that turned Cadillac into a temporary Kiss army when the flamboyant, face-painted rockers joined the high school homecoming festivities in the sturdy Midwestern town more than three decades ago.

Kiss itself is not involved in the project, but the band is on board with the concept. "Anything that can commemorate and encapsulate what happened in Cadillac, Michigan, is worth doing. It will be a cinematic monument," said Kiss vocalist and guitarist Paul Stanley.

Back in 1974, when the powerhouse Cadillac Vikings started the season with two losses, Jim Neff, a former Cadillac High teacher and assistant football coach had the idea of playing Kiss music in the locker room as a motivational tool. After all, the music was fast and loud, and, in football, as he explains, Kiss stands for "Keep it simple, stupid," a slogan about sticking to an effective game plan. Once the Kiss songs started flowing, the Vikings won the last seven games of the season.

In the midst of those victories, Neff got in touch with Kiss and eventually heard directly from its members. "My chair is located in the same place where Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons called me," said Neff, who still lives in Cadillac, a short walk from the football field.

That started a connection between the band and the school that, in 1975, led to the famous visit. Kiss, scheduled to play around that time at a Michigan college, accepted Neff's invitation to come to Cadillac High for homecoming.

What happened next exceeded his and everyone's expectations. During two days in October -- just a month after Kiss' landmark "Alive!" album was released -- band members Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, in full Kiss regalia, visited the high school, posed for photos on the football field and performed a show at the Cadillac High School gym attended by about 2,000 people. "To be part of that was surreal, to say the least," remembered Stanley, who said Michigan has long had a place in the band's heart. "Let's face it, we're blue-collar. We didn't grow up with a silver spoon. We were embraced and taken in by Detroit and Michigan. But Cadillac was unique."

Stanley says it was mind-boggling to see the enthusiasm of the town where the football team went "from worst to first" with help from its songs. Kiss even attended a civic breakfast in Cadillac where Neff, coach Dave Brines, Mayor Raymond Wagner and other dignitaries wore Kiss makeup and gave Kiss a key to the city.

"To see the mayor and everybody doing it, and doing it willingly, it was a testament to a small miracle," Stanley said. Later that day, Kiss made a dramatic exit when a helicopter landed on the football field. As it flew away, thousands of flyers fluttered onto the field that read, "Cadillac -- Kiss loves you!"

In the decades since, not a week has gone by that someone hasn't contacted Neff about the visit. "Your 15 minutes of fame, if it can last 36 years, that's cool," said Neff, who retired from teaching after 31 years. Most Kiss-related projects suggested to him never took off, but a 2010 ESPN segment helped spread awareness of the visit outside the Kiss army. Read the entire article here.

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