Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Thoughts on Thor Arnold and Lee Nolan's eleven year friendship with Freddie

forum rss feed
Author

miraclesteinway user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 440 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 21:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'd love to have heard him do a '30's standard, and in fact had he still been here today, that's something I could picture him delving in to, like Annie Lennox did recently (well, 5 years ago). Of course, I can't remember a time when Freddie wasn't famous, and in the UK there was no chance that he wouldn't be recognised a few times while out and about so it's funny to me that in NYC he wanted to be "a musician named Fred" - but then I do remember on some of the documentaries it was said that he could be more anonymous there. I could imagine Freddie standing up in a Karaoke bar and someone going "hey, that sounds a bit like.... oh...."

Did he ever talk about music with you? I mean in terms of the creative process of making the music, or was his friendship with you more detached from his work? There are things I'd love to ask him - like how exactly did he think a rock band would get away with a 19th Century Viennese pastiche called "The Millionaire Waltz" and for it to actually not just work, but be totally excellent! Did he talk about the influences on his music? Did he ever mention about the process behind say, Seaside Rendezvous, March of the Black Queen, or the original version of Love of My Life? Those would be the things I'd want to talk about with him, to sit in a room with two pianos and have a little jam and he could sing whilst talking through some of his compositions. I'd love to know exactly how he worked out his vocal harmonisations - some of it is incredibly complicated, and even more so when one considers he had little or no formal training, and certainly not in species counterpoint (unless he read through numerous books on the subject, which given most of the first four albums, I wouldn't be surprised if he did a little research....)

Also, in interviews, he talked a lot about Mr Bad Guy, the LP I mean, and how good it was going to be. Of course it wasn't a commercial success and although it contains some strokes of genius (the Mr Bad Guy track itself is beautiful), it's probably not overall his best work. Did he talk about the album with you, before or after its release and did he ever mention what he thought of it as a piece of work?

I'm kind of drivelling, but when I think about Freddie, I can't help but absolutely geek out over the way his music is composed, and be bewildered by exactly where it came from within him. I mean, it's fun to read about the parties and some of the antics....

Finally, for now anyway, as I see it Freddie was a genius - his creativity that he displayed particularly on the early albums was off the scale. Did he realise he was a genius? I don't really take any quips or off-the-cuff remarks from his interviews as being all that serious (the things like "I always knew I was a star and now the rest of the world seems to agree"). Or was he just Fred?



Katydyd5 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 104 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 21:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm so glad you are both here. I have a couple of questions, but I'll get to them later. In the meantime, Lee, you must post a picture of you in the fruit hat!

Lee Kathleen Nolan user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 114 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 21:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

SmokyQuartz
That would be great.
Thor
That comment about Freddie is an understatement. Other than an occasional vocal ease to clear his thought or a smattering of something he might have been working on with Ms. Caballe, or something, he NEVER broke into song as I recall.

Lee Kathleen Nolan user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 114 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 21:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MiracleSteinway.
It's clear you are a musician. I don't remember the last time I heard someone use "counterpoint" (at which I was AMAZING, LOL) in a sentence. My degrees are in the Performing Arts, with an emphasis on Music. Advanced Theory gave me a run for my money, but I completely loved Counterpoint Class. I think that's because it's based on theorems, like Geometry vs Algebra. I aced Geometry but Algebra, yuck. That being said, having spent as much time as I did in Music classes, and appreciating what a genius Freddie was at what he did, I would NEVER embark on a discussion that would in any way question his choices. I DID often have a "How the hell did you come up with that" feeling about his work. I have in the past googled the questions you have.......the Bohemian Rhapsody story is very interesting.

miraclesteinway user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 440 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 22:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

- oh I wasn't questioning his choices at all, I just wondered how he came up with what he came up with. My guess is that throughout his youth he put his favourite music on repeat until he worked out every part - or it just went into his brain by osmosis. I can imagine him sitting at the piano trying to work out exactly what was going on in his favourite records. God knows I did that with Queen albums in my teenage years (and still didn't find everything). I suppose his influences were quite complicated, and I hazard a guess that his time in India must have influenced him in at least some way.

I am a musician yes, I've just finished recording the 6 partitas of Bach for a small label in Italy, and I'm playing third Rachmaninoff concerto with my local symphony at easter, but I've very little patience when it comes to sitting down to compose (something I'd like to change) despite being able to sit for hours in piano practice mode.

What's your instrument Lee?

beemack74 user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 112 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 22:50 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hello again Thor, and Hello and welcome, Lee. I don't have any questions yet but I would just like to echo other's comments in saying it is fantastic to have the both of you here and I am very much looking forward to reading some more wonderful stories about the man who has brought us all together here, Mr Freddie Mercury!

Villiers user not visiting Queenzone.com
Villiers
Bohemian: 238 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 22:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Lee! After glancing through Peter Freestone's first book again recently, he says one of the things that was different about the New York Daughters (that Freddie wasn't used to) was having to wait on them as they had jobs and lives of their own. Freddie was accustomed to having people drop everything to hang out with him, and it turns out Freddie really liked that about you. He felt like just one of the guys, instead of "Freddie Mercury- superstar". Did you guys ever know that something as simple as a call saying "No Freddie, I can't get there until I'm off work." made him happy? You guys made him feel normal and accepted. I think that's great.
Also, were you both familiar with Bill Reid? Any thoughts you'd like to share on him? Peter made it pretty clear what kind of a guy he was, but I'm wondering if either of you have any stories about him or if Freddie mentioned anything to you guys.

Lee Kathleen Nolan user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 114 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

MiracleSteinway.
I was a voice major. Though classically trained, I didn’t have anything along the lines of a big voice. In grad school they let me pick a focus that included Operetetta and “meatier Broadway”. I eventually ended up pursuing a career in New York theatre, but that was short lived.



miraclesteinway user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 440 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks Lee:

So as a voice major, I can ask you, on this forum and in many other places online there has been much discussion about the changes in Freddie's voice over his 20 year recording career. Did Freddie ever talk about his voice changes or did he just get on with it? I know voices change over time, but people talk about for instance the difference in tone between A night at the opera and A kind of magic, and then Innuendo.

I've a friend who went to pursue a career in NY, he was in the Book of Mormon, I haven't seen him for a few years sadly but we're still in touch. Actually he worked with Brian May on something for some reason, but he doesn't actually know him beyond that project. I couldn't tell you what it was he did, it was about 7 or 8 years ago.

thundergod user not visiting Queenzone.com
thundergod
Royalty: 1107 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I guess Lee is out for now, but I will let him answer the comments by miraclesteinway and Villiers.just above.

Also, I know this thread has just started but unfortunately I start jury duty tomorrow (Monday) morning. The first day
usually lasts about 8 hours and is a full day but if I do not get assigned to a case, this could be my first and last day
for two more years. Anyway, I'll keep you all informed at about 7pm PDT (California time).

Thanks, Thor

Blenkolove user not visiting Queenzone.com
Blenkolove
Champion: 78 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Merry Christmas!!! And Great Big Welcome to Lee and of course Thor!!
How exciting is this??????
The previous thread was Sooooo helpful in making Freddie out to be the true and authentic person I always felt he was......compared to the way many biographies n such made him out to be!!! The way YOU Thor described Fred's thoughts, actions and loyalties Jive SOOO much better with what my 'gut' was feeling......I look SOOO forward to what else this thread will reveal about the 'real Freddie!!
During this week interlude....i found 'Ask Phoebe' and That too is also very very enlightening!!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS MAGICAL GIFT!!!

Villiers user not visiting Queenzone.com
Villiers
Bohemian: 238 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thor, as an attorney, I thank you for your time and doing your civic obligation.




But as a normal person, I feel for you lol. Nobody likes having to do it. Let's hope you aren't stuck there for too long. Yikes :(

thundergod user not visiting Queenzone.com
thundergod
Royalty: 1107 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks Villiers,
I don't mind doing it, but I hate the first day with all the hanging around. Thank God Lee lent me his "Freddie Mercury by Peter Freestone with
David Evans" book.which I intend to read more thoroughly than I did years ago.

Lee Kathleen Nolan user not visiting Queenzone.com

Bohemian: 114 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 10 Dec 17, 23:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lots of thoughts to care, so I apologize for the rambling.
JURY DUTY!!!!!! YUCK!!!!! For some reason I have been spared that treat. DON'T know how, but I've never had to go. I think they should have a different process by which they choose who is called, but that's just me.
Bill Reed.........hhhhhmmmm.........Villiers, Bill Reed has been accurately described on all accounts that I have seen. Let me say something about the New York Daughters. From Day 2, we were an immediate entity in Freddie's life. We....Thor, Joe, John, and myself, traveled in a pack great deal of the time. In fact some people referred to us as the Rack Pack, as in the Famous Las Vegas Rat Pack, that consisted of Dean Martin, Shirley McLaine, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc. When were showed up we didn't enter a room we sort of "arrived" someone once said. We had four distinctively different personalities. We didn't have to visit en masse to hang with Freddie. We all had to be at our jobs, but so often had the chance to arrange our schedule to have special play time with Freddie. Because of that, I'm not sure that Freddie's men took kindly to any attention he gave us, as it meant, as in this case Bill, less attention was sent in their direction. I got the same inference when we met Jim Hutton, thought he was much more the gentlemen, at all times. We DID have time with Bill in our company, though often their bickering caused him to be eliminated from our play time.........something he brought about himself. One of my FAVORITE Freddie quotes, of which we have have dozens, came when Freddie was REALLY angry with Bill about something or other. Bill and I were both originally from New Jersey, and once when Freddie was REALLY angry with Bill he blurted out........."I'M GOING TO BUY NEW JERSEY............AND BURN IT DOWN.............EXCEPT FOR KATHLEEN'S MOTHER!!!!!! We roared.
Blenkolove
I wanna check out the Ask Phoebe thread. We are still in touch via Facebook, and it's always a thrill to see his name cross my Facebook Page. It can't be said enough.....Phoebe was and is, Charming, kind, thoughtful, likable, lovable, giving of himself, and all around a wonderful man, There's no surprise that he shot of has his own fan base.
MiracleSteinway
In regards to Freddie's voice changing......hhhhhmmmmm......other than gaining strength and character as he got older, irregardless of any medical issues that have been intimated over the years, I can't really say I noticed any other change in his vocals. I don't want anyone to flat line here........but........though I MUST have heard Bohemian Rhapsody and other numbers I wasn't familiar wit Queen, and I had no idea who Freddie Mercury was when they said we were heading out to meet up with him. (I was locked in a practice room, or in a dance class for most of the 70's, and was pursuing my Broadway goals. ) I immediately realized I was making a new special buddy when we met for the first time, and we would soon connect on many levels,
Did I miss any subjects?........Fair warning..........Verbosity has never been a shortcoming of mine.......LOL


c.jory user not visiting Queenzone.com
c.jory
Bohemian: 187 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 00:05 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm screaming - that's the third quote I've read where Freddie's threatened to buy a place/venue and destroy it hahaha! Love it! One is in Brian May's photo book where he threatened to buy a place because the bouncer turned him away for wearing the wrong clothes! Freddie wasn't even rich yet at that time!

I remember Phoebe's book had something like that about Bill getting jealous of his friends.
RE: Jim Hutton, Phoebe gave the impression he sometimes got irritated he didn't have enough one-to-one time with Freddie, cos he always had people over!

Villiers user not visiting Queenzone.com
Villiers
Bohemian: 238 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 00:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Lee, thank you. I loved that bit about Freddie threatening to buy NJ and burn it down. That's my kind of petty LOL. Sounds like everyone agrees on Bill. I'm left wondering what Freddie liked so much about him. Jim seemed much more relaxed and non aggressive. Sounds like you guys had a blast together. I'm personally thankful that my hero found some genuine people like you guys that made him laugh and brought him joy. It can't be easy for a celebrity to real friends. You gave him that :) btw, I'm sending a private message your way, Lee

Catus user not visiting Queenzone.com

Champion: 55 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 01:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It is so great to have BOTH of you here! Thank you so much for doing this for all of us, I am looking forward to following this thread.

matt z user not visiting Queenzone.com
this is not my display message
matt z
Deity: 3799 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 01:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

@Lee Kathleen Nolan

It could be worse, you could be terse.



"Come tonight! Come see the Overbite! Come to Ogre Battle, FIGHTt!"
Blenkolove user not visiting Queenzone.com
Blenkolove
Champion: 78 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 02:14 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie was quoted as saying he was going to be a Legend.........and in fact...Became a Legend!!! But one can't help but wonder if he had ANY IDEA JUST WHAT KIND OF LEGEND HE IS TODAY?????!!!!!!
My three and four year old grandaughters are his BIGGEST FANS!!!
His music....most of which is New to me (with the exception of Boz Scaggs and Billy Joel....i was a Greatest Hits and Now that's what I call music consumer) calms me, energizes me, gives me the strength to make it thru my worst day, rocks my world when I'm on my way to ANOTHER day at work.....He AND HIS VOICE JUST CAPTIVATES AND MESMERIZES ME!!!!
To know how HARD he fought to record EVERYTHING HE COULD......FOR US.....makes me quit whining about all the crap in my life, suck it up, and face the world with All I have....because Freddie's Strength and his music make it all bearable and beautiful!! To me......FREDDIE IS LOVE

thundergod user not visiting Queenzone.com
thundergod
Royalty: 1107 posts
add to buddy list send PM

Posted: 11 Dec 17, 02:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Wow Blenkolove,
Well said! BRAVO.