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.