THE SITUATION It's Friday night and I'm drinking beers at Vermillion on Capitol Hill with the self-styled "noir pop" band Baby Guns: Neil Giardino, 29, and Erin Shannon, 21. The latter is wearing a hot-pink floral jumpsuit so loud that a hobo walking down the street gawks at her and hoots hysterically.
BABY GUNS With Dull Knife, Case Studies, Perpetual Ritual. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. $7. 8 p.m. Thurs., Sept.13.
HOW THEY GOT HERE Giardino and Shannon met at Seattle Central Community College three years ago. "Erin was always eyeballing me," says Giardino.
"You were eyeballing me too!" Shannon nterjects.
"There was a burning car on Broadway one day," Giardino continues. "We kind of embraced each other. We were waiting for it to explode or something. That was how it all started; that's how we bonded."
They've been been a couple twice. The first time he ended things with her. "We broke up at Bum Nap Park at Pike Place Market," he recalls (referring to Victor Steinbrueck Park).
"Same place we had our first kiss, actually!" Shannon says.
The next year they got back together, then she called it off. "There was a moment when I was sad that we were going to lose a band out of it," says Giardino.
But, says Shannon, "I knew we weren't going to stop playing music together."
SHOP TALK Giardino is the band's guitarist and Shannon plays synthesizer; they also have a drummer, Mike Gaul. They both sing, although Shannon sings in a low voice and layers it with male harmonies from a vocal processor. Hence it's hard to even tell she's singing.
"I've never really thought about it," Shannon says of the barely-there feminine presence in the music. "But I guess if I did think about it, I would want it to be less feminine. I like tricking people. And it feels so much better to scream!" (She recently wrote a song called "Queen of Scream.")
"She's got a tough, pretty voice," says Giardino.
Baby Guns' songs, which are largely influenced by Giardino's interest in noir films, are available on their Kingdom Come cassette, released in June on the Los Angeles label Living Tapes. They're also planning to release a 7-inch with the local Flatfield Records in the near future.
BTW: Two years ago, Giardino and Shannon further cemented their bond by giving each other the same stick-and-poke tattoo: a hand with the middle and index fingers crossed. They like the duplicity of the image. "[Fingers crossed is] wishing and hoping, but if it's behind your back it's lying," says Shannon.
"It's like blood brothers, or blood brother and sister," says Giardino of the tattoos. "It's a way to take something on more intensely. We're tight."