Roses & Cigarettes' 'Fast As I Can' Video Offers Emotional Look at Singer's Cancer Battle: Exclusive

Rachel Louise
Roses & Cigarettes

Roses & Cigarettes give viewers a glimpse of their day-to-day life in their new video for “Fast As I Can,” exclusively premiering on Billboard today (March 19).

In the midst of concert rehearsals, meeting fans at their merch table and a performance video, Roses & Cigarettes’ Jenny Pagliaro is fighting a much bigger battle with stage IV breast cancer.

The nearly four-minute clip features Pagliaro and Angela Petrilli’s memorable harmonies alongside ear-grabbing guitar parts, a steady drum beat and a message of living life to the fullest in the midst of Pagliaro’s hospital visits for cancer treatment. “I got a date with the reaper/ The devil wants my heart in his hands/ I’m gonna give him a few more reasons/ Start living just as fast as I can,” they croon on the chorus.

“This song was written about my battle with stage IV breast cancer,” Pagliaro tells Billboard. “It’s about not letting the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced stop you from living your dreams. The Grateful Dead song 'Friend of the Devil' was kind of my inspiration lyric-wise for this song.”

Despite the darker subject matter, Roses & Cigarettes’ engaging live show is featured throughout much of the video with plenty of guitar shredding. The Fender Strat Petrilli is playing was once owned by Jimi Hendrix. Petrilli remembers writing the entire chord structure to the song in 10 minutes following a gig.

“I was so deeply inspired. I sat down on Jenny's couch, grabbed my Martin OM 28v acoustic guitar and started playing these chords. It literally poured out of me. I wrote the entire chord structure in about 10 minutes,” Petrilli recalls. “The lyrics in this song are some of the best Jenny has ever written in my opinion. It's raw and real and honest. ‘Fast As I Can’ is a fight song.”

While Pagliaro’s cancer battle is a major theme on the duo’s latest album, Echoes and Silence, her bandmate shares that they didn’t want to release a record only about cancer.

“This album is also about our growth as bandmates, friends, musicians and songwriters. We pushed ourselves creatively for this record. We wanted to make an album that took people on a journey delving into folk, rock, blues, country and Americana...and that's who we are,” she continues. “Both Jenny and I are inspired by many different kinds of music, and we wanted to explore how those musical inspirations have created our own 'R&C sound'...we had a lot to say, so what better way to speak than through music? The making of this album truly fed our souls, and we are so incredibly proud of it.”

Echoes and Silence was produced by Michael Lyons and released in February. Pagliaro continues to battle Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.


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