Kiss and Don't Tell: Billy Corgan Opens Up, Sean Combs Polishes Up, More

Billy explains Oceania, Diddy gets polished, the Red Rocker gets miffed...

By , Contributor

Billy Corgan got up this morning and warned fans that he was going to write up a blog post about his progress on the Smashing Pumpkins' forthcoming opus Oceania today. True to his word, exactly four hours later the iconic singer revealed in 975 well-considered words exactly how he feels after working a full month on the album, the 13 songs that he's finished, the affection he feels for his bandmates, along the way confessing his former missteps, and his radically different approach to Pumpkins' music today. The upshot is the esoterically dubbed Oceania is more rebirth than renewal. That great sage Lou Reed contends, "People don't change." Corgan makes a case that they do.

If you don't have the time to read through the entire document, you can be assured of one thing. Corgan believes in his songs, or in Billy-speak, "each song is loved by me."

If you saw those Ciroc vodka commercials where Sean "Diddy" Combs had the élan of a young Sinatra, you'll completely understand why he wanted to hire an etiquette coach to polish the rough edges of all his employees at Bad Boy Records. According to the New York Post, Diddy hired Dawn Bryan, the author of 1987's The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving to give lessons to all Bad Boy Records employees based in the Manhattan office. Bryan was called in to give courses on how to conduct business practices appropriately overseas. She reportedly taught staff members how to hold chopsticks, present a business card, eat caviar, and select gifts for the host. A representative confirmed that Combs is conducting his own version of charm school, on par with what Barry Gordy used to do at Motown back in the 1960s, and that the training is "a protocol for new hires." Do you reckon the spokesperson used language like that after they took the course?

Patti Smith's new album might be finished now if she wasn't so busy - accepting the National Book Award for her New York Times bestseller Just Kids and Sweden's Polar Music Prize, which came with one million kronor ($166,000) that she shared with the Kronos Quartet. That's not even counting dressing up in a crimson jacket, black three corner hat, and high over the knee boots to star along with her BFF Johnny Depp in the Disney Dream Portraits Series for Disney Parks. Yes, you heard correctly, while not a romantic duo, the two are fast friends. She even interviewed the swashbuckling actor for the cover of last February's Vanity Fair. To be fair, while there isn't a release date for her next album, she is said to be "three-quarters done," according to her rep.

Odd as it is, not everybody is a Patti Smith fan. Speaking on local San Francisco PBS station KQED last Tuesday, Sammy Hagar spoke candidly about his one encounter with the literate diva. "She's not my kind of musician," huffed the Red Rocker. "I met Patti at The Rock and Rall Hall of Fame [ceremony] when Van Halen was being inducted and she was inducted at the same time. I was a fan. I covered one of her songs on my Red album. I did 'Free Money.' When I met her she didn't have anything for me," Hagar continued. "Aloof? Not even aloof, [it] just felt kinda arrogant. Almost like 'Hey man, you're not a cool artist. You're too commercial. You made it too big.' That kind of a vibe. I just don't dig that. I have a lot of punk friends...When people say I'm a punk and you're a heavy metal guy, so we can't be friends, that's bull crap. But Patti is a great artist. I wish she would have been nicer to me."

Patti Smith's rep refuted the charge. "She can't see anything. She's got really bad eyes. She probably didn't recognize him."

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Jaan Uhelszki was one of the founding editors at Detroit’s legendary Creem magazine. Since that time, her work has appeared in USA Today, Uncut, Rolling Stone, Spin, NME, Relix, and Guitar World. She is the only journalist to have ever performed in full makeup with Kiss. Luckily she only had to put…

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