Be Nice to Everyone

by Gentle Hen

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about

On April 15, 2018 Brian, Max, and I got together at Rub Wrongways Studios. We opened the curtain to let in the spring light so we could see the finally-winter’s-over green plants blossoming while we set up, tuned up, and started to tackle eleven new songs.

We hit the record button at 12:45 and didn’t stop until we made it through all the songs. A few of them we’d been playing a little bit at shows here and there, some of them Brian and Max had heard in demo form, and at least one of them they were introduced to just moments before recording.

It had been a wild and unsettling year since we finished up our previous album, Sneaking up on the Moon. The days had been flashing by in blurs of news stories, each more absurd and troubling than the last. Nights had been filled with concert-going and movies and binging tv shows and generally trying to keep some semblance of light and creativity in an increasingly cynical and upsetting atmosphere.

We dove into the songs like starving animals, giving in to the parts of our brains that thrive on creating and exploring and making sense of chaos. I’d written the eleven songs during this year of upheaval, there were no oldies being revisited. This was all new territory.

As it turns out, the songs fell into a few different genres of rock. It was unintended, I try not to plan too much. The songs know what they are supposed to sound like. The themes reflect the times. The overall push was a quest for kindness, a call for compassion and understanding. Thus the title of the record “Be Nice to Everyone”.

The listener might not find specifics in the lyrics to justify the album title, but I’m hoping that the overall feel of the collection is human, friendly, introspective, and caring. The songs themselves touch on various subjects. Snippets of lyrics jump out: it’s not wrong to long to belong | Jenny emulates a retro charm | the saddest part of town | you read the room wrong once again | the hours ignite in the clouds | grab the scissors, cut the string, and fly | lean, then catch your fall | the wind was like an uncle | they know better, they do worse | that was more than just a joke | arguments, there’s just no winning, the only way to end them is to not begin them.

Over the next few months, I added decorations and voices and snippets. Ken came in and plowed through a burst of inspired musicianship, painting with new colors, with perfect colors. Andrew Goulet set up his pedal steel and layered on a mournful sunset of sounds. We mixed things and then turned them over to Justin Pizzoferrato who deftly mixed them better. He passed the songs along to Mark Allen MIller who mastered them and made them ready so we could share them with whoever might want to listen.

I hope you enjoy this collection. I hope you feel the humanity in it, the rough edges, the sparkles of light, the personal weight.

-Henning Ohlenbusch

credits

released October 19, 2018

Produced and recorded by Henning at Rub Wrongways Records

Mixed by Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab

Mastered by Mark Alan Miller

All Songs copyright 2018 Henning Ohlenbusch (ASCAP)

Art design by Max Germer. Photography by Henning

The people on this album are:
Max Germer - Bass
Brian Marchese - Drums, Percussion, Singing
Ken Maiuri - Guitars, Keyboards, Singing
Henning Ohlenbusch - Guitars, Keyboards, Singing

Andrew Goulet - Pedal Steel on track 5

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Gentle Hen Northampton, Massachusetts

Formerly named School for the Dead.

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Track Name: We've Got the Goods
Now and then
Now and then it seems like we’ve got no friends
Then again
Then again we know we’ll always have friends
It’s not wrong to long to belong
Won’t be long until we belong again

All we know
All we know is that we don’t know it all
All we do
All we do is what we always do
After all
Aren’t we all after all
After all aren’t we all after all the same things
The same things

Don’t doubt it we’ve got the goods
Let’s shout it
Let’s do it
Let’s do something we’d never do but should

Woah oh oh
We got the goods (repeat)
Track Name: She's Got it Bad
Jenny’s always looking for a sign
Simple has to be the first in line
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.

Spends the morning listening to a voice
Lines her glasses up and makes a choice
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.

Record store, flipping through the T’s
Making sure, making sure he sees that she’s already got Bandwagonesque
Cranes her neck, head bobbing to the Pixies
So she can check all the picks that he’s already started to collect.
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.

What does she need another vinyl copy for
She puts the record back once he’s left the store

Finds a spot just outside the venue
Hears the shot of a snare drum in and empty hall
It’s the greatest sound that she knows
Claims her space listening to the soundcheck
Checks her face maybe he’ll remember her
Standing in the front row.

Jenny’s always looking for as sign
Snaps a photo of herself in the line
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.
She’s got it. She’s got it bad.
Track Name: Knock Knock Knock
Save us, darling. It’s so cold outside.
Help us, baby. It looks so nice inside.
Can’t you see we’re dying to get…

Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in
Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in
How you gonna be our best friend
If you won’t let us in?
Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in

Save us, darling. The sun is going down.
Help us, baby. The saddest part of town.
Can’t you see we’re dying to get…

Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in
Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in
How you gonna be our best friend
If you won’t let us in?
Knock knock knock
What you want
We wanna be let in
Track Name: This Could Only Happen to You
This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you

This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you

How did you get into this mess
It’s classic it’s magic
Your timing is tragic
We’ll help you out again I guess
What will it cost us
You’re gonna exhaust us

This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you

This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you

You read the room wrong once again
Grudges you’ve earned them
Bridges you’ve burned them
What was that thing you always said?
Permission is harder
Forgiveness is smarter

And you, you can’t see
That the only thing that all the awful moments have in common
Is you

This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you

This could only happen to you
This could only happen to you
All the junk you’ve put us through
This could only happen to you
Track Name: A Few More Lifetimes
Take you time and save your time if you can
Because time doesn’t mind if you’ve made some other plans
Stop. It won’t be this way forever.
Stop. You’ve got to dig it like a treasure.

On those nights when the hours ignite in the clouds,
And you’re afraid you might wake the world, you’re thinking so loud,
Wait. Don’t commit the greatest crime and
Say. I’ll do it better next time.

A few more lifetimes is all we need.
A few more lifetimes that’s all we need.

Try to see what’s slipping right through your hands.
And someday soon you’ll wish you had taken a chance.
Wait. Don’t commit the greatest crime and
Say. I’ll do it better next time.

A few more lifetimes is all we need.
A few more lifetimes that’s all we need.
A few more lifetimes is all we need.
A few more lifetimes that’s all we need.
Track Name: There's a World in the World
Doused in citronella scratching a mosquito bite
Pass the frikedeller, leftovers from Tuesday night
Sing it acapella, something doesn’t sound quite right
I don’t like the way they do the drums.

Picky Cinderella shoeless on a Friday night
Picking out a fella, Mr. Left or Mr. Right
Opens her umbrella, maybe she could be a kite
Grab the scissors, cut the string and fly

There’s a world in the world
Where the sweetest people are recognized
A world in the world
Where the kind and caring win a prize
The empathetic always rise and rule the world

Go down to the cellar, looking for a fake moustache
Automatic teller, we trust the robot with our cash
I don’t want to tell her, don’t do anything too rash
Mosquitoes mean that summer’s finally here

There’s a world in the world
Where the sweetest people are recognized
A world in the world
Where the kind and caring win a prize
The empathetic always rise and rule the world


There’s a world in the world
Where the sweetest people are recognized
A world in the world
Where the kind and caring win a prize
The empathetic always rise and rule the world
Track Name: Lean, Then Catch Your Fall
Overused hues
Orange and blues
In a rolled up poster lassoed with a rubber band

Telescope Eye
You be the spy
In the circle scenes of a move that was unplanned

You’re always talking to yourself but you’re never listening
Standing on the edge of a big decision
Lean, then catch your fall
Looking at a life you have to disassemble
Bravery is doing things that make you tremble
Lean, then catch your fall.
Lean, then catch your fall.

A last look around
We don’t make a sound
Until the onramp fires us out onto the open road.

You’re always talking to yourself but you’re never listening
Standing on the edge of a big decision
Lean, then catch your fall
Lean, then catch your fall
Lean, then catch your fall
Lean, then catch your fall
Track Name: They Know, They Know
They know, they know, they always know
They know, they know, they know

I didn’t want to be alone again today
So I called some friends and they called some friends
We gathered in a field where the corn stalks grow so high
We could only see our hands, we could only see our hands

They know, they know, they always know
They know, they know, they know

The wind was like an uncle it tousled all our hair
There were dead leaves on the ground and pumpkins all around
Someone got an apple from the back seat of the van
They threw it in the air, it never came back down

They know, they know, they always know
They know, they know, they know

We didn’t have much to do
So we didn’t do much
But we did it really well
Leaning on a pole
Leaning on a car
Walking across the parking lot listening for a bell

They know, they know, they always know
They know, they know, they know

They know, they know, they always know
They know, they know, they know
Track Name: Ancient Bones
Beneath the surface
Feeling nervous
Straightens his tie and backs against the wall
Eyes on the exits
Ears on the echos
Of all the footsteps that are coming down the hall

Rise
You’ll be the tide
Building in waves
Smashing against the old old stones
Can’t stop a flood
You’ll clean it all up
Rinsing away the ancient bones.

Can resist them
Start a new system
Don’t care about the way things have been down
He’s feeling jilted
Table’s been tilted
He is no longer the only golden one

Rise
You’ll be the tide
Building in waves
Smashing against the old old stones
Can’t stop a flood
You’ll clean it all up
Rinsing away the ancient bones.

They know better
They do worse
They know better
They do worse

Rise
You’ll be the tide
Building in waves
Smashing against the old old stones
Can’t stop a flood
You’ll clean it all up
Rinsing away the ancient bones.

Rise
You’ll be the tide
Building in waves
Smashing against the old old stones
Can’t stop a flood
You’ll clean it all up
Rinsing away the ancient bones.
Track Name: You Can't Take It Back
We all know what you took took
Read your face just like a book book
We all know that you’re a crook crook
We all know what you took took

You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back
You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back

We all heard what you said said
We all saw you turning red red
We all saw you turn your head head
We all heard what you said said

You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back
You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back

How can you take it back we all heard what you said

That was more than just a joke joke
It was a fire made the smoke smoke
Wasn’t laugher made us choke choke
That was more than just a joke joke

You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back
You can’t take it back, you can’t take it back
Track Name: What We Did and What We Didn't Do
Photograph
It proves a memory
But what’s is the truth gonna get me?
Memories
They’re not quite static
Some of them are coy, some of them emphatic

What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t
What we did and what we didn’t do.

Anyway
It doesn’t matter
You can let it go or you can get madder.
Arguments
There’s just no winning
The only way to end them is to not begin them

What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t
What we did and what we didn’t do.

You put your crossword down and look out at the yard
Who knew that living on your own would be this hard
But you can chose to do anything you want to any time
But what is it?

Compromise,
Might equal freedom
You won't know your soulmates if you never meet 'em.

What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t do
What we did and what we didn’t
What we did and what we didn’t do.

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