Hairband Weekend: that time Donald Trump filmed a 1991 Hair Metal video
It was 1991 and short-lived all-female hard rock group Precious Metal (1983-1992) had a new album. Chameleon Records execs dreamed up a video where the band members would feature an appearance by real estate mogul Donald Trump.
The video would be for the quintet’s cover of the Jean Knight soul song “Mr. Big Stuff”.
As the story goes, Trump agreed to be part of the video in exchange for a $100,000 fee that would then be donated to the charity of his choice. After seeing the video, however, Trump reportedly refused to sign off on the video, claiming he’d been misled about what he’d believed to be a minor part.
He demanded to paid $250,000 instead.
Originally reported in a story in 1991 by Entertainment Weekly, Precious Metal’s vocalist recalled, ”At the shoot he was very sweet,” says Leslie Knauer, who in the original video tears up a record contract in Trump’s face. “After that scene, he said, ‘That’s just what my wife did to me.’ When we were done, he said, ‘This is great! Let’s take this to number one!’ But then I think he wanted to keep the money for himself.”
Precious Metal edited Trump out of the video, filming the back of a body double.
The band later heard Trump had agreed to appear in the music video as a favor to Jay Pritzker, with whom Trump co-owned the Grand Hyatt in New York, and whose son ran Chameleon Records.
The incident resurfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign, when Knauer shared more of the story. She claimed caught in the middle of rift between Trump and the Pritzkers.
As she told Billboard, she believes Pritzker told Trump he’d consider purchasing Trump’s struggling airline if he agreed to do the video.
Ultimately, Precious Metal ended up being dropped by their record label Chameleon which later folded.