'Starved to death in a land of plenty' is an extract from the diaries of America explorer William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which is taught a lot in American high schools. Interestingly, that journal entry was dated September 11, 1804 – Gerard Way famously decided to form My Chemical Romance after the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.
There’s a lot of sections to this song. The band started writing it shortly after forming, but it took them a while – five years – to nail it. It started out slow, sung in a way reminiscent of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, and had the title The Five Of Us Are Dying. Unable to quite get it where they wanted it to be, the band left it off their first two albums despite considering it for both. Working on this album with producer Rob Cavallo, who had recently done Green Day’s American Idiot album featuring the similarly ambitious, multi-movemented Jesus Of Suburbia, they revisited the song. Adding a faster beat and making a few changes, they found what they were looking for an an anthem was born. Asked what he wanted people to take away from it, Gerard Way said “I don’t want people to be afraid of living, which I think is everybody’s biggest fear.”
Mikey Way there, who used to make money bootlegging obscure Disney releases and use it to take his older brother to Smashing Pumpkins shows. Last year he followed in Gerard’s footsteps by becoming a comics writer, co-scripting DC’s Collapser series.