EAST ORLAND, Maine — What the music of Frank Zappa has joined together, let no man put asunder.
That could be the wedding motto of Howie Kittelson of Stockton Springs and his bride-to-be, Vera Jones of London, Ontario. The couple — both aficionados of the eclectic music of Zappa — plan to wed Saturday night at WERU-FM in a ceremony broadcast during the 10 p.m. to midnight heavy metal show called “Head Rush.”
“Getting married on the air — all I can say is, ‘How cool is she, that she wants to do something so personal and unique?’” the effusive Kittelson, who has a weekly Zappa-only music show called “Conceptual Continuity with Howie Zowie,” said Thursday. “There’s no pressure, but yet I get to invite the entire world.”
It’s not the first time people have been moved to make their love official over the radio waves, according to longtime program and operations director Joel Mann. There’s been quite a few weddings over the years, he said. The station will mark its 25th birthday in May.
“We like to keep the volunteers happy. Weddings are always a special occasion for everybody,” Mann said. “We’re so happy they’re going to do it on the radio. It means a lot to us. We’re one big family, so when something happens like this, we like to celebrate it.”
The 46-year-old Kittelson, who sells tires in Ellsworth by day, said he met Jones, a 43-year-old Canadian government fraud investigator, through their mutual love of music. At first, he couldn’t believe all their similarities.
“Our taste in music is not common,” he said. “It’s not easy to find anyone to be a Zappa pal — much less a hot chick.”
Jones said that when she began listening to his radio show in Ontario, she loved his personality. WERU-FM is broadcast online all over the world.
They began communicating through his radio show as well as the “Head Rush” show and mutual Zappa-loving friends. She would sometimes call into “Head Rush,” where Kittelson was a regular co-host, and the two would engage in an on-air flirtation.
“We just started talking. We had so many things in common with the music and ourselves. It just happened — we both didn’t expect it,” she said. “He’s got a sensitive side. I didn’t expect that.”
She said that while a white wedding dress is out, she just purchased a “cool black dress with skulls all over it” from Hot Topic at the Bangor Mall — a store she hasn’t seen in Canada. Kittelson said he’ll be wearing jeans and a T-shirt from an obscure psychedelic band. The wedding vows, he asserted, will be “totally ridiculous,” and the ceremony will be officiated by Brian Flaherty, a DJ perhaps better known as “Brutha Luv.” Other radio personalities involved will include Alice Madd Hatter, the maid of honor, and Lonesome Willie, the best man.
The two recently announced their engagement on “Head Rush.”
“Getting married is for nobody but us,” Kittelson said. “The only people who have been a part of this whole thing are the guys at ‘Head Rush.’ They watched the entire thing. They saw it coming a mile away. We were going to do something that was us, that was rock and roll, that was crazy. That freaked people out and that made us happy. ‘Head Rush’ was the answer.”
He said that Zappa’s music — and WERU — made it possible to connect with the love of his life.
“I think WERU is a fantastic entity that provides an incredible service to the area. I encourage people to get involved. I mean, look what happened when I did!” he enthused. “Vera is the most incredible gift that I’ve ever come across in my whole life. I’m more me with her than I ever was with anybody else.”
The duo intend to live together in Canada after their nuptials, though Kittelson wants to find a way to keep on providing his all-Zappa show to WERU-FM.
“I don’t think Howie will give up. He’ll make his wife part of the show,” Mann said. “We just love them… we’re very honored he would choose to [marry] on community radio with all his friends listening.”