Family Stories The Boys Next Door - as told by jim koss

While I was in high school I took drum lessons from a private instructor. In my senior year, I met Steve Lester who had purchased a guitar and we began to jam together. We added bass and keyboard players and started to play high school parties and dances for money and fun.

That summer we recorded a song I wrote, “Sneaky Little Sleeper," and an instrumental by Steve, "Ratchet,” in a local studio. Then I went off to Purdue to study engineering. At the end of my first year, I found out the songs we recorded had been sent to a Chicago record label and released as a “45” by The Four Wheels. When I came home for summer break, Steve and I continued to play together and added other players, Charles “Skeet” Bushor on organ, Steve Drybread on bass and Jim Adams on rhythm guitar. The band quickly became popular around Indy and our new manager changed the name of the band to The Boys Next Door. By summer’s end, we were traveling throughout the Midwest playing concerts.

Since living on the Purdue campus would preclude my travelling, I transferred to Butler University in Indianapolis. Butler was only fifteen miles from home and I could go to class during the week and travel on the weekends. Out of the band’s earnings, we purchased a used Greyhound bus. We left three rows of seats in the front and fitted the bus with three bunk beds and a lounge in the back. We also had The Boys Next Door painted on the sides. We began to play regularly in places like Minneapolis, Omaha, Red Oak, Iowa and the resorts of Michigan, Alpena and Grand Haven. We would pack up on Friday afternoon, fill the luggage compartments under the bus with our instruments and take off for the ballrooms and clubs of the Midwest.

With the bunks for sleeping, we could take turns driving to get to the next town. We always rented hotel rooms for the night but the bus made the drives easier.

In Minneapolis, we recorded more songs, two Steve and I wrote, Central High Playmate and Cold 45. In addition, we recorded a song by Dale Menton, “Why be Proud”. Dale had had a recent hit with his band, the Gentries, “Run Run Baby”. We played as many as 200 one-nighters in one year.

We drew attention from some record labels and producers. One label, Cameo brought us to New York to record in Capital Studios. While there, we performed in Manhattan at the famous Phone Booth night club. Our recording session was produced by members of the Tokens. We opened for numerous acts over the next four years, including the Beach Boys, Rascals and Hollies. When we opened for Bobby Goldsboro, he developed an interest in the band. He took us to Nashville to record some songs he had written, which were released as 45’s on the Atco Label.

After more than four years and numerous recordings, we sold some records but never broke the Billboard “Hot 100”. Members of the band became discouraged leading to the break up. Steve Lester moved to California where he played in bands and did some recording. Jim Adams got a regular job but later died of cancer. Steve Drybread went into real estate, but died when his experimental plane crashed.

Skeet produced records and wrote horn charts for other bands for a time. He currently lives in Indianapolis.

(Clockwise from bottom) Jim Adams, Steve Lester, Jim Koss, Skeet Buschor, Steve Drybread.

I wrote and produced for other bands for a while. But after marriage and kids, found a need to get a real job. I began selling electrical equipment, ultimately landing with one of the largest engineering companies in the world, Siemens. After retiring from Siemens, I took a job as an executive with a large mechanical contractor and worked for a manufactures rep. I currently work real estate for fun. I have been called on a couple of occasions to play with Steve and Skeet for reunions and I get calls from musicians I have known to play high school reunions. I am still amazed and flattered by the number of people who remember the band. The only regular playing I now do is to lead children’s worship at church on guitar.

JWK.

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Created By
William Koss
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