I was scrambling around trying to get from my doctor's office (with a broken ankle) back to my studio in time for this interview with Craig Minowa. Then, that proved impossible so we tried skype (poor connection at the clinic). In what I thought would be a futile attempt to salvage the interview I called Craig and rigged up a microphone to the speaker phone on my cell phone. Technically clunky yet effective. I was squeezed into my van with a cast on one leg and a brace on the other, sitting in a parking ramp and was totally rapt in a deep, rich conversation huddled over a cell phone. This is the result. Local, independent community radio magic from 89.1 FM WGZS, Fond du Lac Reservation, MN.
Excerpts from Cloud Cult Bio:
Cloud Cult developed in 1995 as a solo studio project of Craig Minowa. His first full length album, "The Shade Project" caught the interest of a few small independent labels who urged Minowa to consider performing the songs live. Craig worked the next four years on a new studio project which would be the first official Cloud Cult album, "Who Killed Puck?". Sarah Young appeared on this album for the first time on cello and Eduardo Vaz assisted with drums on a few of the songs. Minowa's early work earned Cloud Cult several offers from record labels, but all were rejected in favor of self-publishing and maintaining total control over the ethical aspects of the business practices.
In 1999, lead singer Craig and Connie Minowa formed Earthology, a not-for-profit environmental organization that would later gain its nonprofit 501c3 status. Craig worked on developing the Earthology Records branch, which was focused on helping to green the music industry. Earthology Records would become the homegrown powerhouse where all of the band's booking, publicity, CD replication, t-shirt production, and recording would take place. Through Earthology, Minowa developed the first 100% postconsumer recycled CD packaging in the U.S. market.
Earthology Records was later moved to an organic farm, powered by geothermal energy and built partially from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. Minowa co-developed the first 100% postconsumer paperboard cd jewel-case, and the band began zero net greenhouse gas practices for tours long before it was trendy to be green. The band's merchandise is 100% postconsumer recycled or made of certified organic materials. Cloud Cult has planted several thousand trees to absorb the band's CO2 output. They also donate heavily to projects that build wind turbines as revenue generators on Native American Reservations.
In the year 2002, shortly after the unexpected death of his two year old son Kaidin, Minowa wrote over a hundred songs to deal with the loss.They Live on the Sun was finished in 2003 and went to #1 on college radio station charts across the country. Since that album, Cloud Cult's music has been strongly inspired by the loss of Kaidin and the "big picture" issues of life: "who are we, why are we here, where did we come from, where do we go". Minowa seems in constant pursuit of the light at the end of the tunnel. The success of the album convinced Craig to create a live band to perform the album's songs. Minowa added Dan Greenwood to the band roster on drums. The first live shows consisted of a three piece: Craig, Sarah and Dan.
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