Los Angeles, California, USA (?)
mid-late 1980s

the band
Leslie Knauer (ex-Roxy Roller): vocals
Mara Fox: guitar/vocals
Janet Robin: guitar/vocals
Alex Rylance: bass
Sussette J. Andres (later Wild Hearts): drums
Carol M. Control: drums

partial discography
Right Here, Right Now album (circa 1985)
That Kinda Girl album (1988)

a few more scraps of info
Far as I can tell, Precious Metal was some kinda glam/pop band, not particularly heavy (but I've never gotten my hands on any of their records, I could be wrong). Primary piece of evidence is the way that Metal Forces magazine's Kelv Hellrazer gets his undies in a bunch over em - apparently they're just as good as Poison, tee-hee....

Anyway. For your interest and edification, an interview with guitarist Mara Fox, conducted by Mr. Hellrazer himself, stolen out of the very pages of Metal Forces (issue 32, October 1988).

CHASING RAINBOWS: Kelv Hellrazer talks to Precious Metal's smouldering axe queen Mara Fox

"Precious Metal and I go back a few years, and why I didn't interview them after their Paul Sabu-produced debut offering, "Right Here, Right Now," will remain one of the great mysteries of our time. But whilst there was the awesome title cut and "Bad Guys," there were quite a few fillers on that first album. No such trouble with the new release, however. In fact, the only cut I really dislike on "That Kinda Girl" (reviewed in MF31) is "I'm Not That Kind of Girl." The rest are all winners, especially "Push," "Sweet Sweet" and "Stand Up and Shout."

The band also have a harder look, but nowhere near their live visual assault. Live is where the band kills. I took a cab that cost me fifty bucks a couple of years back, just so I could catch the girls at the Roxy. It was worth every dime. They were tighter than all the male bands I'd seen musically, they looked awesome, and they put on a Poison style show that would shut up any doubting critics for months. They played a killer ballad called "Keep Chasing That Rainbow" that after 3 months was still instantly memorable. Leslie Knauer's vocals blew me out the Roxy doors and out onto Sunset Boulevard, she seems to come over completely different live, which I find strange.

Leslie used to front a band called Roxy Roller that featured my old buddy Lizzie Grey [surprisingly enough, this Lizzie is a boy, elsewhere in the same mag spelt Lizzy, beats me... - h.], who started this pop project after London split for awhile, and it was pre-St. Valentine. The band released a single as far as I know, which I saw once, believe me, the whole thing looked strange. Lizzie spoke highly of Leslie when I was going through the London history. (Lizzie is of course no longer part of London, which is now vocalist Nadir D'Priest's baby.) Leslie was also a part of a three piece with her brother called Promises which made one LP for a major label. But aside from Leslie, Precious Metal also features: Mara Fox (guitar/vocals), Janet Robin (guitar/vocals), Manchester born Alex Rylance (bass) and the brilliantly monickered Carol M. Control (drums).

I recently spoke to guitarist Mara Fox and the first thing she did was correct me about the Sabu "Heartbreak" cover: "I took the photo, it's not my legs, that's a model." Oh well. I was close! Anyway, Mara, how did Precious Metal first get together?

'I answered ads in the classifieds, that's when I first hooked up with the band. The original drummer, Sussette J. Andres (now in Wild Hearts) placed the ads. I was the first one to answer and she and I put the rest of the band together. The band's basically been the same ever since, the only one we replaced was Sussette with Carol.'

How did you end up with a British bassist?

'Well, she answered the ad, and out of everybody, she was my favorite. At the time I was into New Wave and Reggae. She just seemed so innovative.'

So tell me what you think of "Right Here, Right Now" now that you can look back on it?

'We still love that album, we took a lot of criticism for it. It wasn't really put out at the right time - it didn't fit in as to what was happening at that time. It came out on Polygram, which you know. The guy that signed us at Polygram got canned just as our record was coming out, and if you don't have the support of the people that sign you, your record just kind of falls by the wayside and that's kind of what happened to us, but I still like most of the songs on the record. A lot more of my stuff is on this new record, so I like this one a lot more and my taste is a lot heavier now. I guess there are maybe a couple songs I would've taken off the first LP now that I look back on it.'

What about the movie "Bad Guys"? How did your video part at the end of it come about?

'We were at the record company and the Vice President was talking about this movie soundtrack, he wanted to use a song I'd written called "Cheesecake." Leslie asked him what the title of the movie was and he said "Bad Guys." She said 'cool, we have a song called "Bad Guys."' Well, she had most of the parts to the song, so we raced over to our rehearsal place and finished the song off, wel, more or less re-wrote it. Leslie and I ran over to the company in the morning with the finished tape and they loved it so we ended up gettin a video in the film at the end for the song.'

How did you hook up with Paul Sabu?

'Sussette was an extra in the movie "Hard Rock Zombies." The lead part in the movie was played by E.J., the bassist in Silent Rage. At that point, when we met Paul, we were only just putting the band together. It was me, Sussette, and Alex. We had the possibility for a cable TV show, so we went ahead and did the show with a studio singer. We were in the studio from the very beginning, that's when we formed the rest of the band. We get along with Paul very well, that's why we used him again on this LP. He helps arrange our songs and he co-wrote "Anybody's Lover."'

So tell me your thoughts on your latest LP.

'Well, obviously I think it's a lot better. My personal favorite cut on the LP is "Moving Mountains," but everybody in the band has a different favorite song. I know Carol and Janet like "Sweet Sweet" the best. As you can see there is one outside writer on the song "Seven Minutes to Midnight," that's a guy called E. Barnet. He's a friend of ours and a musician. Alex brought in the song and showed it to the band. We didn't like it at first, but then we started playing it and then we ended up loving it.'

Why didn't "Chasing Rainbows" appear on the LP?

'We will probably stick that cut on the next LP. The tape you have was supposed to be an EP, but the LP came out instead.'

What's your opinion on all the other girl bands?

'I really haven't heard most of them. I haven't heard this band Vixen that you keep going on about.'

I inform Mara of the two styles Precious Metal seem to have: the real poppy style of "Cheesecake" and "I'm Not That Kind of Girl" plus the harder style of "Bad Guys," "Right Here, Right Now," "Sweet Sweet" and "Stand Up and Shout." I suggested that if the band made an LP in the heavier style they might be bigger news.

'There's so many differences in this band that it would be hard just to make straight ahead rock songs. Well, 'hard' is not the word. We would jsut make it sound what we think is more interesting. Live, we come across a lot heavier. That's always been our problem. We can't seem to capture on vinyl the energy we create onstage. You praised us for being killer a year ago. My God, you would freak now, we're even better. I know you're gonna find that hard to believe. It was real funny that you compared us to Poison with our stage movements etc. In the early days we used to play with Poison and we used to steal each others' stage movements. They ended up recording "Rock and Roll All Nite" which was a cover that we had been doing for ages, so we're still thieving from each other.'

Who does most of the guitar leads on the new LP?

'Well, Janet does nearly all the lead work. I get to do about thirty percent. As far as the writing goes, Leslie does most, then me and then Janet. Alex is really good, but didn't put much on this LP. It's Leslie that does all the melodies, she's influenced a lot by the fifties and sixties, that's probably where all the poppier melodies are coming from. But believe me, we're toughening up al the time.'

So tell me about your gigs up in San Francisco?

'Well, when we went the first couple of times people were just coming out of curiosity, but now we've built up a hardcore following up there. We've played with Leathur Panteez. Bitch magazine comes out of San Francisco and they have a high regard for all-female musicians. We spot to girls in the Bangles and the Runaways and they had been in Bitch, they cover all the all-girl bands.'

I inform Mara about a letter that appeared in Bitch from Malibu Barbi drummer Sandy Sledge, it was basically getting mad at me because I was quoting females as females. I asked Mara if I said she was a good female guitarist would she be upset?

'Well, I understand what she's getting at. It's not nice being singled out. In the U.S., they have all this stupid stuff that they will only play so much female singers on the radio, which is ridiculous. But hey, if you called me a cool female guitarist, I wouldn't be upset.'

'Well, we should be coming to the UK in October, so that will be really cool, it looks like we will be coming over with Only Child. Apart from that we will be promoting our record out here. We will be going to San Francisco again, that will be really cool for us.'

I can hardly wait for the UK gigs! So with Vixen and Precious Metal attacking our lugholes [yipes! - h.] it looks like being an all-female invasion - suits me down to the ground."

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