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IPA Hall of Fame Biography

Michael T. Matousek was born in 1956 into what would become one of Baltimore’s most prominent polka families. His father Al was regarded as one of Maryland’s most celebrated polka accordionists, and his mother, Connie, was recognized as one of the noted polka dance instructors who helped bring the "polka hop" to Charm City. Because of their influence, at the age of eight Mike was already singing in Polish and dancing the polka along with his sister Ellen and brother Stephen. The young trio often entertained at church functions and ethnic events to share their Polish culture.

After developing his skills on bass guitar, at the age of 14, Mike, along with his brother on drums, sister on guitar and cousin David Jankiewicz on accordion, formed their first band known as The Polka Cousins. This was the beginning of Mike’s continuing 51-year professional polka music career. In 1973, Mike joined a six-piece polka band called The Royal Cavaliers and recorded his first original polka, “Kozy Acres,” on his first album Capture Polka World in 1975. In 1976, Mike reunited with his brother and cousin along with Fred Bulinski and Dave Korch and formed The Brass Works. This group dominated the Baltimore polka scene and broke into the national spotlight in a few short years. Mike is featured on three of the band’s recordings. The Brass Works’ success helped launch Polkamotion By The Ocean a major polka festival that he now hosts every September at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Delaware.

In 1980, Mike and his brother Steve, along with the Borzymowski cousins Ted and Frank on accordion and sax, and Bob Kuhn and Don Miller on trumpets, co-founded the Boys from Baltimore polka band. This innovative group immediately recorded their Boys Are Back album and went on to set a new polka standard for style and professionalism. After a couple of years, Mike did another stint with The Brass Works and then formed his own versatile group called Choice. In 1984 Mike and Ted reunited to reform The Boys, then with Al Puwalski on accordion and Ron Lesniewski on drums. This group recorded another creative album entitled Boys Just Want To Have Fun, which featured Mike’s original "Yukon Jack" polka. After Frankie Liszka joined the group on trumpet in 1987, the popularity of the band continued to grow. The Boys won the Bronze and Silver Music Awards at the National Polka Festivals in Hunter Mountain, New York, in 1987 and 1988. After their hit records Boys Nite Out and Boys Will Be Boys, The Boys established their place among the elite polka bands in the nation. Jeff Yash joined the band on drums and the group went on to win Favorite Album and Favorite Band awards by the United States Polka Association in 1988 and 1989. The band also made national headlines in 1989 when Mike facilitated their appearance in Paramount Studio’s major motion picture He Said, She Said starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins.

After The Boys disbanded at the end of 1990, Mike played in a Christian rock band called Against the Flow for a couple years and then reunited with his brother and cousin to perform with a group called The Hylites. After several years, the band evolved into a group known as Charm City Sound. Under Mike’s leadership, the band continued to develop its own polka sound and unique style. His original compositions are featured on five of CSS’s recordings. The band was recognized by the United States Polka Association by winning the 2001 Favorite Song and 2003 Favorite Band awards. At the time, The Baltimore City Paper also deemed Charm City Sound to be "Baltimore’s Best Polka Band." From 2007 – 2013, Mike enjoyed performing with IPA Polka Hall of Famers Lenny Gomulka, Jimmy Weber, Al Piatkowski, and polka legends Roger Malinowski and Mike Stapinski in a group called Full Circle. The band hosted six very successful polka cruises. For eight years Mike co-hosted a polka show on the 24/7 Polka Heaven Network, with Mike Ziemski and Stephen Kaminski, called “The Mikes Are On.” They won the USPA’s Favorite IJ/DJ Award for the years 2008, 2011, and 2012.

In 2008, The Boys reformed under Mike’s leadership with Frank Liszka, Mike Evan, Al Puwalski, Dave Morris, and Jeff Yash so they could play occasional special events. That same year Mike was inducted into the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame. The band began touring seriously again in 2011 and recorded their A New Day album, which won the IPA’s Favorite CD/Album Award. It also won two PACE Awards for Best Polish Album and Best New Original Song for Mike’s original polka, “In My Old Polish Town.” In 2013, The Boys released their Boysterous recording followed by their Where The Boys Are album in 2016, which won the IPA’s Favorite Polish Album. It also featured their hit “Maryjane” polka that won the IPA’s Favorite Song and the USPA’s Favorite Polka awards. In 2015, Mike was honored with the USPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The Boys released their Boys’ Stories album in 2019 and continue to perform at major festivals and venues across the country. At last count, Mike’s work has been featured on over 25 recordings. After serving 26 years on the IPA’s Executive Board, Mike now facilitates the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame and Awards Committee that oversees the Board of Trustees and the Academy of 195 Electors.

After a rewarding 38-year federal career, Mike retired from the USPS Corporate Headquarters in 2015 where he managed national marketing programs. He and his wife, Ann Marie, will be married 34 years in April of 2022. They have three grown children: Amanda, Matthew, and Amy and one grandson, Cameron. Mike has two older children from a previous marriage, Mike Jr. and Melissa who gave him two grandchildren, Amelia and Eli.