ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 21, 1991
By Steve Newton
Even in the big-bucks world of pop metal, rock ’n’ roll and money don’t always mix. Just ask Precious Metal vocalist Leslie Knauer, whose band had a recent run-in with billionaire developer Donald Trump that—apart from generating lots of publicity—didn’t benefit either side.
As the story goes, Trump originally agreed to appear in the band’s video of a remake of Jean Knight’s ’70s soul hit “Mr. Big Stuff” for a fee of $10,000, which would then be donated to a charity of his choice. But the big-shot money man was holding his now-famous Trump card.
“He was quite funny when he did the video,” says Knauer, “ ’cause I tear up a contract that he offers me and throw it in his face. And after we shot that scene he goes, ‘That’s just what my wife did to me!’
“So he was really positive at first. Then we heard from our record company that he really loved how he looked in the video, but he wanted a lot more money—he wanted a quarter of a million dollars. So we said, ‘Sorry, you aren’t worth it,’ and he ended up on the editing floor.
“And then—after we got all that publicity—then he calls up and says, ‘Well, now that we’ve got the press where we want them, you can let the video go out, but just say you gave me the quarter of a million.’ I mean, whatta weird guy!”
Precious Metal didn’t go for Trump’s last-ditch attempt at a compromise, though, and had to settle for a video quite different from what was originally envisioned. “It’s a big deal not to be able to put out your video the way you were going to,” claims Knauer, “ ’cause that’s a band’s big sales point.”
That’s especially true in the case of an all-female act like Precious Metal, which comes to Club Soda on Monday (March 25). “Sadly enough, people will come out and see you just for that,” says the Duncan, B.C.-born Knauer, who feels that her group’s musical abilities have been overlooked because of their sex.
“The funniest thing that happened was when these people came up to us at the Lingerie club in L.A. and said [in a snotty voice], ‘Yeah, but your boyfriends were playing behind the curtain.’ And there’s, like, a brick wall behind the stage! Meanwhile, in other all-boy bands that we’ve opened for there are other guys behind the stage playing keyboards and singing backgrounds. At least with our band, what you see is what you get.”