Minneapolis’s Cloud Cult have gained a loyal following over the years, becoming one of the pioneering “Green bands” of indie-rock, ignoring offers from major labels to instead record and release their albums through Earthology Records, a not-for-profit environmental label established by leader Craig Minowa. Minowa recently sat down with PopMatters to answer 20 Questions.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Wet Hot American Summer—it made me laugh so hard I was crying.
2. The fictional character most like you?
Edward Scissorhands—I’m a somewhat decent artist as a hermit, but I have social clumsiness, and I definitely have no clue what is cool and what is not cool. It’s probably just a matter of time before the critics turn on me and banish me from their circles.
3. The greatest album, ever?
Pink Floyd the Wall—I’ve always loved concept albums, and this one is one of the few that actually pulled it off.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Spaceballs—I’ll pretty much always choose a goofy spoof over the actual movie. I’ve been told that Cloud Cult songs have made people cry. But making someone laugh really takes something special.
5. Your ideal brain food?
The night sky—We live out in the boonies for a reason. If I need creative stimulation, I go outside and remind myself how extraordinary this whole mystery is.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
If by “this accomplishment” you mean this 20 question survey, I’m proud of it because you’ve had some pretty amazing stars fill this out, and I’m a nobody schmuck, so thanks for including me.
7. You want to be remembered for ...?
Being a good person—If I can earn it, I’d like people at my funeral to say, “Dang, now there was a truly good fella!”
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Buddha, Rumi, Jesus, da Vinci, Einstein.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
If I chose a recent masterpiece, it would be Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. I keep re-reading it, and I know it’s a part of my ticket out. It takes a lot of work to truly get into the present moment, but that’s where it’s at.
10. Your hidden talents . . .?
Shoe missiles—I can kick off my shoes and hit people in the back of the head from 20 yards. Not 100 percent of the time or even 50 percent of the time, but frequently enough that I’m secretly proud of it.
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Feel the fear and do it anyway—I had a lot of stage fright, and that anxiety leaked into all other parts of my life, as well. It seems odd, but now I just acknowledge the feeling of the fear, and I do it anyway. It mitigates the fear to a ridiculous level. It has allowed me to live a much better life.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Bubba Keg—He’s a 72-ounce insulated travel mug. I’ve tried countless varieties of travel mugs, and Bubba is the best. You fill it with ice in the morning, and you still have ice water when you go to bed. Bubba satiates my thirst 24 hours a day. Every time I lose one or break one, I get another one. People think it makes me look like white trash, but I don’t care about image when it comes to the thirst-quenching abilities of drinking vessels.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . .?
Goodwill trousers—Anything I can find used that actually fits me. I have a weird body size, so it’s tough to find used pants, but when I do, they often become my favorites, until I wear holes in the legs. New clothes make me feel like the first day of school, and I’m not too fond of my childhood schooling memories.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Jerry Lewis—Not the musician, the comic actor. People in the States don’t give him enough credit. He’s given me more laughs than any other person alive. Of course, I’d want to hang with him in character.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
February 12, 2000—We had a birthday party for our son, who is no longer on the planet. He had those candles that you can’t blow out, and he thought they were the funniest things ever. I have never seen him laugh so hard. He was sitting in my lap, laughing at the candles with tears just pouring down his face.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Lake Resort Vacation—Nothing relaxes me quicker than swimming in a lake, followed by a nice meal and a beverage, then sitting outside with my wife, staring up and talking.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?
If you mean essential naughty things, for me personally, I enjoy the libations, but not much in public, because I kind of turn dumb even off one beer, and my letters get all scrambled.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Country—Anywhere there are woods and water and really, really laid back people.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
I’m sorry so many of them have already forgotten that you weren’t the one who made this mess in the first place.
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
I’m scoring music for a National Geographic documentary on wolves. They want it to be full orchestral drama, and that’s my specialty.