Since picking up the guitar at age 15, it’s been all upward trajectory for Carlos ‘Loki’ Cofino. Starting out playing in underground punk and metal bands, Loki now finds himself the guitarist of the ex-Misfits frontman Michale Graves. Their connection goes back to the early 2000s, starting as a guitar tech for Graves’ band, then soon after forming their first band together – Gotham Road. After Gotham Road, Loki continued on playing guitar for Michale Graves’ solo act.
We talk to Loki about touring with Michale Graves, his influences and guitars.
Who were some of your biggest influences when you were growing up, and have they changed a lot since then?
I would say Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses and ACDC started me down the path of rock n roll. As I started playing guitar, I started appreciating heavier music. Bands like At The Gates, Pantera, Soilwork and Decapitated really molded my playing. I’ve always had a love for 90’s punk. Bands like Pennywise, Face to Face, Misfits, Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion were in heavy rotation. I would have to say my biggest influence as a guitar player and songwriter has been Jerry Cantrell.
What has been your tour experience been like with Michale Graves? Any memorable moments to share?
The past few years have been busy. We’ve been lucky enough to tour all over the world and we have a full schedule already planned through 2019. One of our more memorable performances was at the 2015 Amnesia Rockfest in Montebello Canada. The crowd response was amazing and is something I’ll never forget.
How did you first start working with Michale and how did you get to know him?
When Michale and Chud left the Misfits, they formed a band called Graves. My girlfriend at the time lived across the street from Chud’s house. My friend and I decided to leave our demo on Chud’s windshield hoping he would join our band. At the time I didn’t own a cell phone so my friend left his contact info on the demo. I guess Chud liked what he heard on the demo and asked my friend to try out for Graves. My friend and I made a pact that he would take me along as guitar tech if he got the gig, which he did. My friendship with Michale blossomed from that and led to us forming Gotham Road down the line.
How different was it touring with Gotham Road compared to your current tour with Michale Graves?
It was very different. Our music was a bit of a departure from what Michale’s fans were accustomed to hearing. At the time, the fan response was mixed. The timing for Gotham Road couldn’t have been worse. If you ask Michale, I think he would admit that he wasn’t mentally or emotionally prepared to lead and grow that band. Social media and the internet wasn’t what it is today, so we had very little publicity and reach. When you mix those things together along with sloppy business dealings, you don’t have a chance at success.
When you see us now, the desire and focus has never been higher. I think our schedule and recent successes have been a reflection of the work we have and continue to put in. We’ve been through so much in the past, our victories now seem that much sweeter.
Could you tell us more about your other projects and involvements?
I play guitar for Argyle Goolsby (ex Blitzkid). I recorded guitars on the album “Darken Your Doorstep”. I play with his live band whenever my schedule with Michale permits. I will be playing for both bands on the upcoming “Course of Empire Tour” in North America this fall. I would also like to record an album as a solo artist. The foundation for that album is there, but I’ll have to wait to finish it when our touring schedule eases up.
If you could share the stage with anyone, past or present, who would that be, and why?
I would love to collaborate with Jerry Cantrell. I can’t say enough about the musical influence he’s had on me. I have so much respect for his songwriting, vocals, layering of harmonies and playing style. I can’t say enough good things about the man.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
No matter how hard life gets, you should lead a life of victory and not one of a victim.
Let’s talk about your gear. Tell us about your no.1 guitar. What makes it your go-to guitar on tour and why is it so special?
The people at Ernie Ball Music Man were gracious enough to offer me artist pricing when they heard that our gear was stolen in Las Vegas. I loved my guitars before then, but that company forever has my love and respect for doing that for me. I’ve been using a JP6 and now a Majesty for a very long time. I love their construction and how they feel. Those guitars easily have the best tremolo systems in the world. So versatile. I love them.
What MONO gear do you use at home, in the studio or on tour?
The Dual Electric case is a staple. I also use the best named strap on the market, the Black Betty, on all my guitars. I also use the Tick and the travel backpack (the Flyby).
What is it about your MONO product that you like and why?
Flying with a guitar has always been stressful but my MONO cases take that stress away. I have not had any issues when trying to board airplanes with the Dual case. The cases are durable and sturdy. They have survived life on the road and still have plenty of mileage left. As far as the straps are concerned, the padding makes them comfortable and they don’t dig into your neck like some cloth straps do.
Aside from touring with Michale, what’s next for you for the rest of the year?
To be honest, touring with Michale will consume most of the next calendar year. We have plans in motion to hit all over North America, Europe, Indonesia, Asia, Australia and South America. I’m looking forward to it!