The Knewz is a polka band based in Buffalo, New York, which was started in 1990 by Mike Burka, Tom Picciano, and Tommy Wanderlich. The band plays many original songs, and also traditional Polish polkas, obereks, and waltzes. In 2008, The Knewz received two awards from the United States Polka Association - Favorite Recording of the Year, Headlinez, and Favorite Song of the Year, 'When I Call Your Name', written by Tommy Wanderlich. Andy Bojczuk (Drums, Vocals) Andy has been playing drums professionally for about 10 years. Growing up, listening to, and loving polkas is what drove him to play the same music today. Andy has played with such bands as Big Steve's Bellares, The Steel City Brass, The Dynatones, The Concertina All-Stars and currently the Knewz. His biggest polka influences are Larry Trojak, Eddie Blazonczyk Sr., and Frankie Liszka. He respects them for who they are and what they've accomplished in their lives. When not playing polkas, Andy enjoys attending Buffalo Bills and Sabres games, watching NASCAR and cooking. Andy works at Atlas Cold Storage in shipping/receiving. He and his wife Michelle have a daughter, Hannah. They reside in the town of Eden, NY. Mike Burka (Trumpet, Vocals) This talented musician has been in the business for 25 years. Mike began his playing career with a band called The New-Tones and continued his success with such bands as The Skylarks, Scrubby and Sunshine, The Dynatones and now The Knewz. Jimmy Weber and Lenny Gomulka are Mike's major influences in polkas. With the New-Tones, Mike won an award along with Tommy Piccianno and Tommy Wanderlich for "Best Band" in 1982's Battle of the Bands in Erie, PA. Mike's hobbies include golf, fantasy football, the Bills and Sabres. He and his wife Ann enjoy their two children, Cory and Kimberlee. They reside in the South Buffalo area. John Fomenko (Accordion) John has been playing music for 28 years. A native of Stratford, Connecticut, John began his playing career with a band by the name of The Polka Revue. Since then he has played with great groups such as The Bright Sound Express, Brass Dimension, The Brass Works, Polka Family, Big Steve's Bellares, The Dynatones, Perfect Blend, Polka Country Musicians, and currently the Knewz. He attributes his success to his mentors in the business such as Marion Lush, Eddie Blazonczyk Sr., Richie Bernier, Richie Tokarz, and "Al Al Al" Piatkowski. John has won a handful of awards including the 2005 USPA "Band of the Year" with the Polka Country Musicians, as well as a Grammy nomination for his work on Polka Family's "Polka Music Fan" back in 1993. When not playing, John enjoys family time, most sports, and is a big UConn college basketball fan. He is currently employed by Osmose Inc. As a chemist/quality assurance manager. John resides in Amherst, NY along with his wife, Nancy and their three children Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Matthew. Tom Picciano (Trumpet, Clarinet, Vocals, Leader) Tom is the leader of the Knewz. He has been playing polkas professionally for 25 years. Tom's band résumé includes The New-Tones, Scrubby and Sunshine, The Dynatones, Big Steve and the Bellares, Phocus, and The Knewz. The three biggest influences in Polka music for Tom, in no particular order, are Eddie Blazonczyk Sr., Lenny Gomulka and Jimmy Weber. As a member of the Dynatones, he was nominated for a Grammy as "Best Polka Album" in 1991, for the recording, 'When The Band Plays A Polka.' Tom's hobbies and interests include golf and bowling, as well as polka music. He currently works as a nurse at ECMC hospital. Tom has two children, Kristen and Daniel. They live in the town of Cheektowaga, NY. Brian Urbanczyk (Bass) Brian is the youngest member of the group. Although he played in jazz band, marching band, and the musical pit in high school, he has always had a passion for polka music. The list of bands he has played with consist of PhoCus, City Side, and the Buffalo Concertina All-Stars. He occasionally fills in with The Polka Family as well. Brian has already claimed musical achievement in his short, but busy polka career as the recipient of the 2004 USPA New Horizon Award. He enjoys listening to the sounds of The Beat, Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones, TBC, and Polka Family. In his free time, Brian enjoys watching the Sabres, Bills and NASCAR and also enjoys playing golf. A resident of West Seneca, Brian currently works at Fisher-Price. Tommy Wanderlich (Concertina, Clarinet, Sax, Vocals) This veteran musician has been playing professionally for over 20 years. Besides concertina, Tommy also plays clarinet, saxophone, piano, and bass. The list of bands he has played with include The New-Tones, Krew Brothers, Take 3, John Góra and Gorale, The Dynatones, and The Knewz. Some of the influential people in Tommy's musical career are Johnny Karas, Lenny Gomulka, Eddie Blazonczyk Sr., and the great Paul Fudalla. Tommy has three Grammy nominations under his belt (1997, 1999, and 2004), with John Góra and Gorale. As for recreation, he enjoys NASCAR, video poker, and golf.