In 2014, Joe Garwig made the decision to move from Youngstown, Ohio, to Portland, Ore. Though Garwig had love for his hometown, it didn’t offer much as an aspiring musician. Soon after his move, his longtime friend Edwin Beach followed, and with just a drum machine, some samples and a guitar, they started the foundation of what is known today as Salo Panto.
The band now consists of Garwig on guitar and as lead vocals; Beach on sampler, synthesizer and hand percussion; Max Doyle on bass; and Dave Kudelka on drums. With many different genres of influence, the band can best be described as a high-volume psychedelic rock group. The band members constantly share different bands and artists with each other to keep the inspiration alive. Though they’re labeled a rock band, they hope that their various influences shine through their sound — from Malkmus to FlyLo.
Salo Panto released its self-titled EP in 2017 after recording at Torch Toucher Recording with Eric Crespo, a member of Portland band Abronia. The EP has provided many heavy-hitters that the band continues to play at live shows today, which features the favorite “Same Same Old.” The band then released their second EP “20-20 Somethings” in 2018, including the title track which is also often heard at their live shows. Soon followed the 2020 two-single release of “Phones,” including a lighter version of the fan-favorite song “Phones.” Their most impressive EP to date, “Bait,” released in early 2020. The five-track release shows off their heavy, loud sound, melodic vocals and their tightness as a band after years of playing together.
Salo Panto had a West Coast tour booked to play behind “Bait” when the COVID-19 pandemic derailed their plans. The band saw this time as a blessing and curse, though mostly the latter, and used it to write new music and focus on practicing without interferences like their day jobs. During the pandemic, they also released a live recording titled, “Havin’ a Hippie Catch: The Super Secret Sessions, Vol. 1,” which showcased both old and new songs. The 10-minute track “Lucky Lines” is certainly a highlight, and exemplifies their expanded psychedelic abilities and influences from multiple genres. When the effects of the pandemic started to ease, Salo Panto played its first live show back just last month.
“It was late October and about 36 degrees fahrenheit. Once we started playing, it might as well have been Maui. Just completely forgot about everything and did it. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” Garwig said.
The band continues to ease into live shows this winter with their upcoming show with San Francisco’s Bolero at Kelly’s Olympian on Thursday, November 11. Catch Salo Panto where they truly shine — live on stage!