Scans: Smashing Pumpkins, Puff Daddy, Beatles, The Damned, Cake...

The Smashing Pumpkins were joined in an L. A. studio within the past two

weeks by American Recordings honcho Rick Rubin, according to the group's management. The bearded

producer (Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty), who is also expected to lend a hand on the next Nine Inch Nails

record, produced at least one song for the Pumpkins' still-untitled,

upcoming album ...

Sean "Puffy" Combs may get a chance for redemption on Feb. 27 after

getting shut out of last week's American Music Awards. Combs' rap

alter-ego, Puff Daddy, was nominated for five Soul Train music

awards last week, including Best R&B/Soul Single, Album of the Year, Best

New Artist, Best R&B/Soul Album for his solo debut, No Way Out, and

Best Music Video. Also nominated for multiple awards were soul mistress

Erykah Badu, Dru Hill, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot,

slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Mary J. Blige ... In this

age of rockers shilling for corporate giants, Germany's Volkswagen auto

company has just upped the ante. The company is

trying to do the impossible: i.e., get the three surviving Beatles

together to re-launch the new version of the Beetle automobile, according to a Reuters report. The

carmaker is reportedly in negotiations with Paul McCartney,

George Harrison and Ringo Starr to act as spokespersons for

the re-launch of the world's best-selling car ...

Scottish indie-pop band the Pastels will kick off their first West

Coast tour in more than seven years on April 1, when they play Seattle's

Velvet Elvis club. The seven-city tour will hit San Francisco, Portland,

Ore., Olympia, Wash., and San Diego, as well as the band's first-ever stop

in Los Angeles ... Swans Are Dead is the name of a recently released

two-CD, 16-track set chronicling the Swans' final tour in 1997

on one disc and their 1995

Great Annihilator tour on the other. Among such recognizable tracks

as "I Am the Sun," "Yum Yab" and "Blood Promise" are two previously

unreleased, new 15-minute songs, "Feel Happiness" and "Not Alone" ...

Shambling punk-rockers the Damned, widely credited with being the

first U.K. punk-group to release an album and tour the U.S., have

re-grouped for yet another U.S. tour. Back in the fold are singer Dave

Vanian and original guitarist Captain Sensible. The band

reunited for a tour in 1989, after which they called it quits for what was

supposed to be the last time ... If you look real closely at the drum kit

in the first part of the Presidents of the United States of

America's video for their cover of the Buggles' "Video Killed

the Radio Star," you'll notice the band is identified as "The Quitters."

The song is the final studio-recording by the Presidents, who recently broke

up ...

Cake guitarist Greg Brown has left the Sacramento, Calif.,

group on the eve of the band's return to the studio to record its third

album. No replacement has been announced yet for Brown, one of the founders

of Cake and the author of their biggest radio hit to date, "The Distance,"

from 1996's Fashion Nugget ... Troubled R&B singer Bobby

Brown may spend five days in jail and a year on probation following a

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., jury's decision on Thursday that found the former

New Edition singer guilty of two misdemeanors stemming from an

August 1996 single-car crash. Reuters reports that the husband of

pop-diva Whitney Houston was found guilty of driving under the

influence and DUI/property damage, after which Judge Leonard Feiner

sentenced the singer to five days in jail and 12 months of probation. Brown

was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and later released on $15,000

bond, pending appeal. The singer's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.22

after he drove his black Porsche Carrera off the road. That blood-alcohol

level is nearly three times the state's legal limit. Traces of cocaine and

marijuana were also found in a urine sample, according to medical reports

... -- ATN staff report [Mon., Feb. 2, 1998, 9

a.m. PST]

Last week, John Schroeder -- the New Braunfels, Texas, 18-year-old

who was arrested on obscenity charges for wearing a Marilyn Manson

T-shirt -- pleaded innocent during an arraignment. "We'll be filing a

motion to dismiss in the next two to three weeks," said Diana Philip,

regional director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Texas,

which has taken on Schroeder's case ... Despite the fact that The

Artist Formerly Known As Prince's multi-CD set, Crystal Ball,

arrives in stores on March 1 (and is currently being shipped to those who

ordered it directly from The Artist), his Royal Badness is already planning

his next release. "In the summer he'll have a new album of new material

out," said The Artist's spokeswoman Frances Pennington on Friday ...

Oasis spokesman Johnny Hopkins confirmed that the Brit-pop band may later this year release a two-CD collection of B-sides spanning the group's

career, as has been hinted at by guitarist Noel Gallagher during

recent media appearances. "It sounds like a good possibility," Hopkins

said ... Right-wing guitar rocker Ted Nugent's weekday-morning radio show on WWBR-FM has made the top 10 in Detroit, according to new Arbitron ratings. The show has jumped into the #9 slot, beating out shock-jock Howard Stern's syndicated talk show ...

Heart sisters Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson are exploring new musical horizons with their bandmates in Lovemongers, and they have recorded their first studio album, Whirlygig, for the Seattle-based Will Records. Lovemongers will release "Kiss" in February as a radio track for Valentine's Day and will tour the East Coast in early April ... Soul songwriter/producer Babyface and country-music superstar

Garth Brooks are in the talking stages of producing a film and an

album together, according to a source at Capitol Nashville Records.

Meanwhile, a box set consisting of Brooks' first six albums will be

released sometime in the spring. Each CD will include an additional track

and the box set will include a special collector's item ... -- ATN staff report [Sat., Jan. 31, 1998, 9 a.m. PST]