Mick Hargreaves is known on the East End music scene, and all over Long Island, as a solo artist, the front man of The King Guys, and as a sideman to a number of like-minded musicians.
He counts among his influences Bob Dylan and Hank Williams and his style can be called Americana, though his range covers everything from blues and folk to pop and rock. He is primarily a guitarist, but has also been a bassist for Caroline Doctorow’s band.
In 2014, he set up shop in a 1920s farmhouse in Manorville for his recording studio, Lantern Sound Recording Rig. All year long, he’s performed frequently at bars, concert venues and festivals, and he’s working on releasing new music.
Hargreaves has accomplished much in the three and a half years since an attack that nearly ended his life. After he performed his first gig with The King Guys on July 30, 2011, at Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport, he was assaulted by a man armed with a crowbar. The assault left him with a skull fracture and lacerations that had to be stapled shut. Though his injuries were severe, he recovered fully. He is still in awe of the support he received from friends and fans.
We posed these five questions to Hargreaves and asked him to point us to one of his songs he thinks everyone should hear:
1. Outside of music, what other talents do you have that might surprise people?
I’ve done extensive work in graphic design, and still do every bit of visual art that has anything to do with my musical pursuits… which is why I got into that field in the first place. It was easier to do the design work myself, rather than try to articulate what I needed to another designer. Also, I’m a snowboard instructor, when time permits. Everyone needs to bend their front leg more. Stay out of the “back seat.” I get along with skiers just fine.
2. What’s the best thing a fan has ever done for you?
The Great Fan-Spirit in the Sky let me see the sun come up on Sunday, July 31st, 2011. The night before was quite a hell-ride, and parts of it I can’t remember. Then next thing that happened was… just about everyone who knew me in the area did something in the coming months that will probably never be topped: They collectively came to my rescue in a lot of different ways. That sort of thing is impossible to forget, ever.
3. What’s one thing you don’t spend nearly enough time doing?
Putting the finishing touches on the written account of what happened that night in 2011. No one totally knows the whole story, not even me. It hasn’t been easy fully turning that page, but it’s almost finished.
4. If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing with your life?
Probably wishing I had become a musician. I have no regrets, and there are things that are just as exciting now as they were when I first started. Aside from that… teaching. The musical teaching I’ve done has really given me a wider window into the magic of that noble profession, and it’s gained me a greater appreciation for the teachers I had in the past. Learnin’ kids of all ages – I find that to be a total gas.
5. What other East End musician—who is not regularly a member of your band—do you most enjoy performing with?
Lynn Blue and I have really hit it off as vocalists. We’ve embarked on a new musical thing that is really driven by us singing together. Duets, harmonies, that sort of thing. Vocal harmony seems to be curiously ignored around this area, in popular performing acts at least. I don’t know whether that’s because it’s not the easiest thing to do, or because no one cares. I’d rather hear the craft of people singing two- or three-part harmony well, rather than one person up there just hollering away.
And a song…
Well, there’s a bunch of recordings with my band (Mick Hargreaves & The King Guys) that I’m working on currently that aren’t released yet, so nothing new. We’ll have to go back a ways. My contributed segment to the”Major Glitch” (The Longest Recorded Pop Music Song, according to The Guinness Book Of World Records) is actually accompanied by a film that I produced. Chris Butler (The Waitresses) had this great idea to make the world’s longest recorded pop song, so he wrote it, and it got cited by the Guinness folks. Since then, crowd-sourced contributions have increased the overall length of this piece, and my short 6-and-a-half minute segment put it over three hours. I thought that warranted a film, so here it is.