BY NICOLE A. HAWLEY Staff writer
ROCKIN' MAMMA — Nancy Nasci sits in front of her refrigerator at her Franklyn Street home where she keeps several family photos, including the 8X10 black-and-whites of daughter Sandy Roeser, left, and husband Donald Roeser, lead guitarist/vocalist for the rock band Blue Oyster Cult. The band is scheduled to perform at the Showroom at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona on Thursday, and Nasci plans to be there. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
VERONA — On Thursday night Nancy Nasci will be attending a unique family reunion.
It won’t be a gathering beneath a tent in a family member’s back yard, nor a special dinner planned at a local restaurant.
Instead, Nasci, of Franklyn Street in Rome, will join her family at the 8 p.m. performance of Blue Oyster Cult at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino Showroom, where she will sit with her daughter to watch her son-in-law perform. Nasci’s daughter Sandy is married to lead guitarist Donald Roeser, better known in the Rock n’ Roll world as "Buck Dharma."
And despite a recent foot injury, Nasci said she wouldn’t miss that concert for the world.
"Donald said, ‘Don’t worry mom, I’d carry you there on my back if I had to,’" Nasci said with a laugh.
As a little girl growing up in East Utica, Nasci was always surrounded by music.
Her father played guitar and had his own band. He would have her get up in front of crowds and sing with the group when she was as young as 10-years-old, she said. She was also a member of the Mickey Mouse Club in Utica. As a teen-ager, Nasci would sing for wounded World War II veterans in the hospital and for troops as they boarded the train for duty at Union Station.
"I’ve always loved music. So Donald being a musician is an added bonus," Nasci said of her famous guitar-playing, singing and song-writing son-in-law. "They (the band) don’t play anything I don’t like."
Nasci’s daughter Sandy met Roeser while the two were attending college — Sandy, a Rome Free Academy Class of 1965 graduate, was enrolled in Potsdam College and Roeser was at nearby Clarkson University. According to his biography, Roeser was working toward a degree in chemical engineering when he decided to pursue his music full-time. He actually started out playing the drums until a wrist injury resulted in him learning to play guitar, Nasci said.
On June 10, 1972, the couple was married at St. Joseph’s Church in the Town of Lee — the same year Blue Oyster Cult was discovered by the music industry.
"The band signed its first contract the first year they were married," Nasci said of daughter Sandy.
Roeser spent most the days of the year on the road, touring with the band. Sandy would travel across the world with him until their daughter Danielle and son Zeke reached school-age, Nasci said. Danielle, now 33, a visual artist, singer and musician, lives in New Jersey; Zeke, 29, is an attorney in Washington, D.C. After several moves during his music career, which included Ithaca, New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut, Roeser and Sandy settled in Florida in 2003.
"Sandy traveled all over, she even went to Europe," Nasci said of her daughter. "I told her, ‘I know it’s tough, because he’s gone a lot, but you have a great life.’"
Nasci has been a great supporter and fan of her son-in-law’s band during their 36-year career. She has attended several shows, and through the years would travel to some East Coast stops, such as Boston, to catch Roeser on stage. Although she would deny it, Nasci even played a small role in the creation of the group’s smash it, "Don’t Fear the Reaper," which Roeser wrote. The song, from the album "Agents of Fortune," rose to mumber 12 on the American music charts in November 1976, and was voted "Best Rock Single" of 1976 by Rolling Stone magazine.
"I remember him being in this (Franklyn Street) house and taking me into the den," Nasci recalled. "He said, ‘Mom, I want you to listen to this and tell me what you think.’ It was ‘The Reaper’ song, and I told him, ‘I think you really have a hit on your hands.’"
Today, Blue Oyster Cult has reached a new height of popularity since a parody of the popular music show, "VH1’s Behind the Music," was aired on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in August 2000, with actors Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan playing the band members. But with all the fame Blue Oyster Cult has achieved, Nasci said her son-in-law remains a kind-hearted, down-to-earth person who would do anything for anyone.
"He’s stood here at the sink and done my dishes," Nasci laughed. "He’s just a great guy, and I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law."
Tickets for the Blue Oyster Cult Nov. 13 performance are available by calling the Turning Stone Box Office at 361-7469 or 1-877-833-7469, or by going online to www.ticketmaster.com.