Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Working Theories: Mad Max's War Boys & Duran Duran's Wild Boys

Artists get their inspiration from many sources...film, art, a single moment in time...and sometimes, a piece of music. Ever since the release of Mad Max: Fury Road, I've had one song blaring in my head and while the few lines I recalled spoke to characters from the film in a round about way, it wasn't until I looked up the lyrics that I could see the very clear similarities. Let's break down the song alongside the movie and see just how close a resemblance there is....

The wild boys are calling 

On their way back from the fire
In august moon's surrender to 

A dust cloud on the rise

Wild boys fallen far from glory
Reckless and so hungered 

On the razors edge you trail

Because there's murder by the roadside 
In a sore afraid new world

They tried to break us, 
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it

Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes

Wild boys always shine

You got sirens for a welcome 
There's bloodstain for your pain
And your telephone been ringing while 
You're dancing in the rain

Wild boys wonder where is glory
Where is all you angels 
Now the figureheads have fell

And lovers war with arrows over 
Secrets they could tell

They tried to tame you 
Looks like they'll try again

Wild boys never lose it
Wild boys never chose this way
Wild boys never close your eyes
Wild boys always shine

Some background: According the the Wikipedia page for the song (yes, apparently there are pages for every song under the sun), "Wild Boys" was based off of a book called "The Wild Boys: A Book Of The Dead" by William S. Burroughs. It was hoped this might be turned into a feature length movie, so Duran Duran wrote the song as an anthem for that project and the video that followed was an epic sort of "proof of concept" for the film, costing over 1 million dollars. Surely, the costumes in this video were modeled after "Mad Max: The Road Warrior", with Simon Le Bon's leather jacked looking particularly battle torn. The song struck a chord with fans across the globe and was insanely successful, proving to be the band's biggest charting single in Australia (naturally). 

Of course, the Wild Boys are a little dancier than the War Boys, but the colors are the same, and the elevators seem familiar...and there's a band member strapped to a car....and the chant....

So you see, the question of what came first is debatable, as Mad Max influenced the look and feel of the music video, but the song comes straight from the fevered mind of Burroughs...and it's arguable that after that interaction, the song stuck in the back of the mind of Writer/Director George Miller after all these years. 



  1. The Arena concert video (which Wild Boys is featured) has the nemesis Dr Durand Durand walking with 4-legged stilts. Mad Max Fury Road borrows the look for the people seen in the distance as they race through the poisoned wetlands sequence. I guess the borrowing works both ways.

  2. i like your singular interpretation, anda i agree... when i watch the movie i remeber the Duran Duran video clip, maybee in 80´s the technology give a litle help we dont have the same movie...

  3. Actually, Burroughs' The Wild Boys predate even farther back than the first Mad Max film. I believe George Miller has said that he based Toecutter's pansexual bikers and later Lord Humongous' gayboy berserkers and smega crazies off Burroughs' novel. The key point of Burroughs' Wild Boys is that they're universally homosexual, being reproduced by some sort of scientific-magic and being raised without ever experiencing a woman. The Fury Road War Boys probably takes the same inspiration, guided under the hypermasculinity of Immortan Joe and Rictus, although, despite the name, they are technically gender-neutral, being made up of young men but also sterile women such as Furosia (supposedly with the Blu-Ray release's detail, you can now tell some of the Wild Boys are women)

    Also, a fun fact about the Burroughs' book: David Bowie took his stage name from the same book as well, since one of their signature weapons are 18 inch Bowie Knives.

    1. This is the best comment anyone has ever made on Idle Hands, prompting me to reply "Gee, Mister! You sure do know a lot about Burroughs!"