Local artist spotlight: Captain Tom and the Hooligans


Courtesy of Tom Sieracki

Captain Tom and the Hooligans performing at Buffalo Grill N Ale House on Dyngus Day 2021

Thomas Tedesco, Culture Editor

The celebration and traditions of  Dyngus Day in the Western New York area provides unique festivities that aren’t seen in many other places.

Also, seldom seen is traditional European and polka music being performed by people who were born in this millennium.

Tom Sieracki, singer and multi-instrumentalist for the band Captain Tom and the Hooligans says it’s important to change this trend.

“People really don’t know until they go to these things that they realize that this is fun, and is good music, it’s not just a joke,” Sieracki said.

“It might be hard to get past that stigma, but with how much we like to advertise, and get all our friends into it, it’s a lot easier to get younger people there,” said Dylan Stoj, the group’s bassist.

Captain Tom and the Hooligans is a five-piece band that consists of Sieracki, Stoj, Jake Simon on guitar, Nick Sugg on accordion and drums and Mike Brzyski on drums and guitar.

The inspiration for Sieracki to play traditional genres of music started at an early age.

“My mom and dad are bluegrass musicians. My dad played the banjo and my mom played mandolin. That’s the first music I was introduced to,” Sieracki recalls.

Sieracki also cites Canadian folk musician, Stan Rogers as one of his biggest influences. He also mentioned how polka artist, Frankie Yankovic and Canadian band The Dreadnoughts influenced his group’s musical direction.

“Frankie Yankovic took the polka sound and modernized into his time and it’s necessary for us to keep doing this to keep our music alive.

“The Dreadnaughts are probably the first band that I’ve heard do polka music mixed with punk, and they made it sound good and not corny, which a lot of bands do and I kind of hate it,” Sieracki said.

His traditional direction also trickled down to his friends, which led to the group’s formation.

“I actually didn’t listen to a whole ton of older music before playing with Captain Tom and the Hooligans,” Stoj said. “But ever since I started hanging out with Tom, he’s just been showing me the music he listens to and they’re all just gems.”

Sieracki points to the group’s slogan “A modern rendition of old-world tradition” as the best way to describe their sound and performance.

At the group’s most recent performance at the Buffalo Grill N Ale House on Dyngus Day, their takes on traditional and contemporary songs alike made for a performance that appeared to energize the audience.

“When all of us are on stage there’s definitely a huge amount of energy. Getting the crowd into it and putting on a show is very important,” Stoj said.

Their repertoire ranged from traditional polka songs such as “Who Stole the Kishka?” to a folky take on rock band Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild”, which showed the group’s respect for tradition as well as their creativity.

Captain Tom and the Hooligans want to keep that creativity going while working on their own original material and continue to build their online presence by creating music videos in the future.

After being together for about a year, Sieracki says he has high hopes about the group’s future.

“If we can write a song that just becomes remembered and ingrained in something, it could be a great way to leave our legacy behind,” he said.