Precious Metal Interview
Five years ago Precious Metal were an unsigned, and relatively unknown act. Since then, they've signed with Chameleon Records, are touring the country, and made a video with Donald Trump. Now, as we go to press, we have learned that Donald Trump will not be appearing in the video. What happened and is happening with the group? Singer Leslie Knauer explains.
Q. It is true that after seeing the final cut of the video, Donald Trump
didn't want to be in it?
A. No. Do you know what he said? He loved the song. He loved everything. Then when the video was done, he saw all the footage, and said, 'God, I look great.' This is the absolute truth. He said, 'I look 10 years younger.'
Q. Does he?
A. He looks good, I mean for him. We really wanted him in it 'cause we were asking a lot of people that would be funny to be 'Mr. Big Stuff,' Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay. Then we thought Donald Trump, just 'cause it fits the song. Some guy that could be a bad guy and has a sense of humor and likes publicity. So a friend of a friend of a friend finally got a hold of him and he said, 'Yeah, I'll do it, if I get $10,000 to my favorite charity." So, our record company said that's great, that's easy. And then after he thought he really looked great. He really loved it, and thought it was gonna be huge. Then he said it's really not a Trump kind of charity donation. Then our record company said we'll give you $25,000. He said, 'Well, I'd like more like $250,000.' So, he wanted a quarter of a million dollars. That's just too much money. Our label couldn't afford that. So, he's edited out of the video. What a greedy guy! Incredibly greedy. I really think it's evil. I think he's in a league where he doesn't know how important a video is to a band, and spend that kind of money and say 'yes' and then just pull out like a little rich kid, who got tired of the train set. Janet's mother is a librarian (Janet is Precious Metal's guitarist) so she checked out all those books about Donald Trump, and what he's like. And, I guess he's quite evil, what he does to tenants if he wants them out of the homes, he used to turn off the heat of apartments in New York for old people. He would get homeless people to live in the apartments so the regular people who were paying rent wanted to leave. You know, he's a weird guy. My esteem of people is very high. I think most people are really good and nice. And, that's how I'll continue to be. I'm always shocked and surprised when people don't do what they say they're gonna do.
Q. Leslie, how did you know that you could be successful in landing a record
A. You'll be surprised, because I had a record contract before, in another band called Promises. I had Platinum records in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I don't know if I want to be successful, but it's the only thing I want to do, and I'm really focused, and I love singing. And, I just think I'm good. (Laughs.) I don't think I'm the best, but I think I'm really good.
Q. Did the contacts you made before Precious Metal enter into the picture?
A. I don't think it helps at all. I didn't really say anything until later.
Q. How many personnel changes have there been in Precious Metal?
A. Two in seven years.
Q. Because Precious Metal is an all female group, did
you ever encounter any problems being taken seriously by industry people?
A. I think the thing about being a girl band is you're a novelty band at first. Our band is great. Everybody’s a player. Everybody's really good. Our album is great. Yes, it's a little harder for girls to be taken seriously. You don't get the respect. But, a lot of the bands that don't get the respect, if you go see them, and watch them play, I can see why they don't get the respect. So, do the work, get the respect. I don't care if you're a male or a female. If you're good, you get the respect.
Q. You have had the help of some very powerful and influential people
at critical points in your career. People like Nancy Wilson (Heart), C.C. DeVille
of Poison, and Cheap Trick. How were you able to enlist the support of these
A. O.K. When we started this last album, we wanted to take a lot more time. Janet always wanted to write with Sue Ennis who wrote with Heart and Nancy. Our record company president said he knew her and worked with her when he was at Capitol. So he wrote her a letter and sent her a tape. She loved our tape and critiqued every song. Then she gave our tape to Ann and Nancy, and Nancy loved our stuff. Ann is not as openly, outwardly friendly as Nancy. And Nancy called, and said why don't you come to my house in Seattle, and we'll write a couple songs together. We met them when they were doing their album in L.A. We met them before we met Phil Kaffel who engineered the Brigade album, and he produced our record. But, we met Heart before. It's like; it's such a small world. We were working on our songs while he was engineering their record. And then while we were working on our album with Phil, he was also doing Cheap Trick's records. So through Phil we met Tom Peterson and Robin Zander, and Rick and Bun (Cheap Trick's members). Anyway, it's kind of a small world, and they just wanted to help us out. They thought our songs were really good. They are such cool guys from Cheap Trick, especially Tom and Robin.
Q. I'm interested in knowing why you chose Chameleon Records as your label.
They would not seem to have...
A. They don't have the muscle or the money, and they're not huge. You know what, if you're on a really big label, and they overlook you, you're in trouble. Stephen Powers at Chameleon Records loved our band. He loved us when he was over at Capitol. He really wanted to sign our band. He really believed in us. This business is really, really hard. The competitiveness in it is pretty high. He wanted to sign our band. It's hard to gel a deal.
Q. Chameleon is moving their headquarters from L.A. to New York. Since you
are an L.A. bused act, how will that impact on Precious Metal?
A. Well, you know our manager can fly to New York. Any time there's a change in a company, it's scary. We’re touring. Our video is coming out. We're praying for the best. We're really damn good and selling out shows. So, I'll really think positive.