In 1990, L.A. pop-metal band Precious Metal were screwed over by Donald J. Trump

By on September 27, 2018

Hit Parader’s Heavy Metal Meltdown — a short-lived magazine-style music series focusing exclusively on L.A. metal bands — was often featured on “Night Flight” towards the end of our original cable TV run.

In this nearly half-hour long episode, there’s a short segment with the all-female L.A. pop-metal band Precious Metal, who in late 1990 were screwed over by future U.S. president Donald J. Trump (news that shouldn’t shock anyone at this point).

Watch it now on Night Flight Plus.

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Precious Metal were, for a time, the darlings of the Hollywood heavy metal club scene, during at least part of their near-decade long existence.

Precious Metal were actually formed in 1983 by drummer Susette Andres, who’d placed ads in the L.A. music trades, hoping to find four other foxy female musicians (okay, we added the “foxy”).

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Andres assembled the first lineup with two lead guitarists, Mara Fox and Janet Robin, bassist Alex Rylance and singer Leslie Knauer, but six months in, she split from the band, with Carol Control replacing her on the drums.

Guitarist Janet Robin’s guitar teacher, while she was still in high school in North Hollywood, was Quiet Riot lead guitarist (and future Ozzy Osbourne band axeman) Randy Rhoads.

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Their fanbase grew quickly in L.A., attracting late-night deejays like KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer, who began playing the band’s demos on their radio shows.

This exposure ultimately led to them signing a production deal with AOR producer Paul Sabu, who produced their first album, Right Here, Right Now, released in January 1986 on Mercury Records.

Even though these five rockin’ girls received a lot of attention from the horndog hosts of MTVs “Headbangers Ball,” and they were featured prominently in cameos in a number of Hollywood movies (Scenes From the Goldmine, Bad Guys, Rich Girl), they didn’t really sell a ton of records.

When Polygram went through a company-wide label shuffle in 1987, Precious Metal suddenly found themselves without a label.

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They ended up putting out a 4-song EP via Jem Records before signing to the Capitol-distributed Chameleon Records label in 1988 (they also signed with Savage Records in the UK).

Precious Metal weren’t taken too seriously by most rock critics, though, some of them writing they sounded like “a female Bon Jovi,” but they built up a solid following in L.A., packing out clubs like the Whisky a Go Go, the Roxy, Club Lingerie and FM Station on a regular basis.

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All total, during their prime, Precious Metal released three full-length albums — the other two were That Kinda Girl and the self-titled Precious Metal — before calling it quits in 1992.

Read more about how Donald J. Trump fucked over Precious Metal in 1990 below.

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In late 1990, real estate developer and total lying asshole Donald J. Trump agreed to appear in Precious Metal’s video for their heavy metal-remake of Jean Knight’s 1971 R&B hit, “Mr. Big Stuff,” if the band donated $10,000 to a charity.

Trump was to play the role of a record company big shot who offers Precious Metal frontwoman Leslie Knauer an exclusive recording contract.

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Trump hadn’t been the band’s first choice, however. According to Knauer, they’d originally approached Danny DeVito and Andrew Dice Clay first, who’d both declined.

It was later revealed that one of the co-owners of Chameleon, Danny Pritzker, was the son of Jay Pritzker, who at one time owned Braniff Airlines and was the co-founder of the Hyatt Corporation.

The elder Pritzker offered to ask Trump — who was having money problems at the time — to appear in the video because he was interested in buying Trump Shuttle, the LaGuardia-based airline Trump owned from 1989 to 1992.

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Talking about the shoot, which took place in November of 1990, Knauer said Trump “was very sweet,” and seemed enthusiastic about being in the video, saying “This is great! Let’s take this to number one!.”

Trump being Trump, he also made an inappropriate comment about her, and when he put his arm around the band’s guitarist, Janet Robin, he said “Ooh, hard body! No cellulite.” (Robin, who is gay, thought Trump was disgusting).

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Then, after the video shoot, Trump demanded a payment of $250,000, instead of agreed-upon amount of ten grand for charity.

A Trump spokesman named Dan Klores reportedly said “Mr. Trump said he was only too happy to participate in the video for charity, and he feels there is nothing wrong with asking for more of a donation when they wanted him to do much more work.”

Trump had been given the script beforehand, and if he’d read it, would know exactly they were asking him to do.

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When asked if he was buying Trump Shuttle, Jay Pritzker reportedly told Trump “fuck you,” which may have been one of the reasons why Trump pulled out of the deal.

Chameleon not only couldn’t pay Trump’s increased fee, they couldn’t risk a lawsuit by releasing the video as is without Trump’s approval, and so the video was edited to remove the Donald.

Its lack of MTV airplay probably played a part in their break-up two years later.

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You can go here to read more about “Hit Parader’s Heavy Metal Meltdown.”

The date on the title card says this episode of Hit Parader’s Heavy Metal Meltdown originally aired in mid-July 1989, which we admit is a bit confusing, since “Night Flight” had stopped airing on the USA Network in ’88 and we hadn’t yet begun airing shows in syndication (not until 1990), but we hope you can set that aside and enjoy this streaming episode on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.