Wretches And Kings
|"Wretches And Kings"|
|Song by Linkin Park from the album A Thousand Suns|
|Recorded||2008 - 2010|
|Released||September 2, 2010|
Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock (A Thousand Suns)|
Neko Keyboard Sounds and Samples
|Samples||Mario Savio - "Put Your Bodies Upon The Gears" speech|
|References||Public Enemy - Bring The Noise|
|Live debut||September 14, 2010|
|Last played||February 28, 2011|
|Producer||Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin|
"Wretches And Kings" is a political song, featuring excerpts from Mario Savio's "Bodies upon the gears", or "Operation Of The Machine" speech he delivered on December 2, 1964. It features a very heavy hip-hop influence, as well as heavy use of synths. Mike references Public Enemy on the track, the lyric "How low can you go?" directly referencing their song "Bring The Noise". He also claimed that the song has one of the strongest hip-hop sounds on the record, as well as one of the most aggressive. Both Mike and Chester have said that the speeches used in the songs on the album helped achieve a connection between the words and music that they couldn't do on their own, and the messages of the speeches still resonate with problems going on in the world today.
The first mention of "Wretches And Kings" (at this time titled "Rygar") was made on June 5, 2009 via a post on Mike's blog where he said, "We had a big band meeting this week to get caught up on album progress. With all the New Divide and Transformers stuff going on, we've been distracted for a while :) In our weekly meetings, we listen to each song, give it a grade (A+ to F-), and write notes. The grades get tallied (10 points for an A+, 9 for an A, and so on). The written notes are things like "the music in the first half loses my attention a little bit," or "I like the chorus, but the verse is a little weak." My favorite note from this week: "Sometimes it’s nice to have balls." (thank you Dave) The songs all have working titles like "Robot Boy," "Rygar," and "Underbite." Usually the working titles don't sound anything like the song (the name usually comes before we've written a note). All of those titles are going to change, but we need to name stuff to keep it organized. “Robot Boy” got the highest grade so far, at about an 8.75. "Voyage" got the lowest, with a cumulative 3.5 and notes like "sleepy time." LOL. We listened to about 18 song ideas, and I think we'll have another session to listen to another 10-15 songs in a week or two." Two other songs are mentioned here from the album - "Robot Boy", and then "Underbite" (later "Under Bite") ended up turning into "The Catalyst" from this post as well.
Tones were achieved on "Wretches And Kings" through a variety of effects pedals: the bass was run though a ZVex Mastotron pedal with a copious amount of Fuzz. Other ZVex pedals such as the Woolly Mammoth, Tremolo Probe, and the Super Hard On were used on guitars. "The guitar played a great supporting role because it really filled out certain areas," says Shinoda.
In the June 2019 leak of Hybrid Party Of A Thousand Things, samples used to compose "Wretches And Kings" were included. "Rick 808" is the hi-hats from "Wretches And Kings" and the BPM matches with the song (Rick likely being Rick Rubin). "Rygar" is likely from when the band tracked the various processed guitar samples for the song. RYGAR4, RYGAR5, RYGAR30 and RYGAR32 were used on it, RYGAR21 on "Victimized" and RYGAR37 on "Bruiser." Other samples were used from "Rygar" for "Saa'iq" from the Medal Of Honor: Warfighter soundtrack in 2012 as well. On a June 18, 2020 stream when making a song out of Fort Minor and Linkin Park sounds, Mike mentioned that he named the sample bank of sounds "Rygar" after the Nintendo game.
HavocNdeeD's dubstep remix of "Dopeman" by N.W.A. had somehow gained the attention of Mike Shinoda who posted a video of it on his blog doing a live remix session. When looking at possible remixers for the new Linkin Park album the duo came to mind. Mike explained, "I found out about HavocNdeeD from a friend earlier this year. At some point, I was messing around with a Virus keyboard and did a live glitch thing with their “Dopeman” remix …and later, when we were looking for remixes for songs off our new album, “A Thousand Suns”, we reached out to them. Our new record is more beat-driven and electronic than our past efforts, so I thought it would be a good fit. Their remix of “Wretches And Kings” came out incredible…the bridge section is massive!" HavokNDeeD's remix of the track was uploaded to their YouTube channel in 2010 and a second "VIP 2.5" Remix, featuring an original verse by Chuck D from Public Enemy, whom the song references, was released on The Hundreds in the following year.
The Get Busy Committee and Divine Styler also did a remix of the song, featuring a new verse by Mike. It was first released on the Some Kind Of Awesome website in February 2011 before being released under the name "Wretches (Remix)" on Apathy's Fire Walk With Me: It's The Bootleg, Muthafuckas! Vol. 3 compilation album in September 2012.
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|Wretches And Kings||A Thousand Suns||4:15||2008-2010||September 2, 2010||
|Wretches And Kings||A Thousand Suns (Clean)||4:15||2008-2010||September 8, 2010||
|Wretches And Kings||A Thousand Suns Instrumentals||3:56||2008-2010||
|Wretches & Kings (HavocNdeeD RemiX)||5:49||2010||November 29, 2010||
|Wretches & Kings (HavocNdeeD VIP RemiX 2.5 ft. Chuck D of Public Enemy)||5:51||2010||June 2, 2011|
|Wretches & Kings (Remix) (Feat Get Busy Committee & Divine Styler)||Fire Walk With Me: It's The Bootleg, Muthafuckas! Vol. 3||4:12||2010||February 21, 2011||
|Wretches And Kings||Live In Madrid||4:25||November 07, 2010||April 1, 2011||
|Wretches And Kings (Live From Las Vegas, 2011)||A Thousand Suns - Live Around The World||3:54||February 19, 2011||June 19, 2012|
"Wretches And Kings" debuted at the first full show of the A Thousand Suns cycle, though the band was uncertain of whether or not they would play it, as noted by the song being in parenthesis on the physical setlist. Through 2010, the song almost always opened the show in conjunction with "The Requiem" and "The Radiance", with Joe scratching the Savio speech. However, the one-off New York City release show, where the song debuted, had "Wretches And Kings" after "Given Up", and Set B-1 had the song after "Papercut". During the 2011 North American Tour, "Wretches And Kings" wasn't played as much. Set A-1 had the song opening the show for the first two shows of the tour, but it was moved after "Papercut" starting at Atlanta. At those shows, the band dropped the speech from the song, as it was played over the instrumental of "The Radiance". It wasn't included in any other set, and the song wasn't played after that tour.
Though it wasn't played, "Wretches And Kings" was rehearsed for the band's 2012 Honda Civic Tour.
Parts of "Wretches and Kings" returned in Mike's Solo Medley, with the verse instrumental being played under the first half of the medley, where Mike rapped a hybrid of the two verses of the track. The medley was dropped during the band's show in Mexico City, and hasn't been played since.
After the Post Traumatic cycle came to a close, Mike posted a picture of one of his pieces of gear he uses to trigger parts of songs on Instagram. One of the buttons was labeled "Wretches", indicating he considering playing the song on tour but chose not to.
Last Updated: December 25, 2015
|Type||Description||First Played||Last Played|
|Intro||No Speech||January 23, 2011||February 28, 2011|
|Outro||"Papercut" Intro Tease||January 20, 2011||January 20, 2011|
|Outro||Instrumental Jam||January 20, 2011||January 20, 2011|
In Other Media
- "Wretches And Kings" was released in 2010 as part of a DLC for the 2010 videogame Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock.
- "Wretches And Kings" is featured in the 2012 videogame EA Sports MMA as well as in its trailer.
- Linkin Park Fans: A Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of | Reverb News, April 02, 2018
- NME, September 6, 2010
- LP Underground Newsletter Anniversary Edition
- Mike Shinoda: How We Write, June 5, 2009
- Linkin Park: 'A Thousand Suns' - EMusician, November 29, 2017
- Making a new track using only Linkin Park and Fort Minor sounds. Tune in... - YouTube, June 18, 2020
- Live Glitch « Mike Shinoda's Blog, May 25, 2010
- HavocNdeeD « 119 Sound – Dubstep, Garage and Bass Music!
- Linkin Park – Wretches & Kings (HavocNdeeD RemiX)….OFFICIAL!!! « 119 Sound – Dubstep, Garage and Bass Music!, November 30, 2010
- FOR YOUR EARS ONLY. | The Hundreds, June 02, 2011
- Wretches & Kings - Newswire - Linkin Park Live, September 01, 2010
- Mike Shinoda on Instagram, December 2019