The Band that Loves You

Cloud Cult releases its new album, <em>Love</em>, on March 5. Here, their thoughts on love—plus 9 reasons why we love them.


Daniel Zamzow (cello): “Forgive and let go. Do that and you’ll increase your capacity to give love.”

Shawn Neary (bass and trombone): “In its simplest, purest expression, love is almost overwhelming.”

Craig Minowa (singer/songwriter): “If we have only these short lives to make some kind of energy that lasts forever, what better energy than love?”

Connie Minowa (painter): “Done right, love is without any expectations.”

Shannon Frid (violin): “Strength, courage, positivity. Start by smiling at a stranger.”

Sarah Elhardt (keyboards and French horn): “It’s knowing you’d do anything to help someone avoid pain.”

Arlen Peiffer (drums): “Steinbeck put it well in a letter to his son: ‘There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which one uses for self-importance. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you.’”

Scott West (painter): “Love is within every moment—within nature, the process of creation, and the passing of life.”


Reason #1: They recently moved operations to a 15-acre farmstead near western Wisconsin’s de facto capital of sustainability, Viroqua, where the band records, plots tours, and chills out.

Reason #2: They shot their latest music video at the humble Driftless Books in Viroqua, celebrating local, smart, and rolling out of bed.

Reason #3: Bandleader Craig Minowa scores background music for the National Geographic Channel’s wildlife show America the Wild.

Reason #4: Minowa recently told an interviewer: “Reality is a dichotomy of ugly and beautiful. So you’d better learn to digest both at one sitting.” Gulp.

Reason #5: The paintings created onstage by Connie Minowa and Scott West are auctioned after the show: a decent source of income for the band, a cool souvenir for fans.

Reason #6: The band can be heard in the University of Minnesota’s new “Driven to Discover” ad campaign. “Are you a cynic or are you a creator?” Minowa has said of the campaign. “This ad is about the fire that comes from the creators.” When’s the last time you heard a musician speak so eloquently about lending his music to an ad campaign?

Reason #7: Song titles like this one from the new CD, Love: “Love & The First Law of Thermodynamics.”

Reason #8: Lyrics like this, from the heavy new “1 x 1 x 1”: You are here to take the punches one by one / You are here to learn your lessons one by one.”

Reason #9: No One Said It Would Be Easy, a 2009 documentary about the band, may be the most inspiring rock doc ever. It takes its cue from the Minowas’ loss of their two-year-old son, in 2002, which inspired Craig to write more than 100 songs as a kind of therapy and congealed the band’s themes of loving life against all odds. As Craig says in the film: “Cloud Cult is a celebration of life and love and whatever the grand mystery is.”

Find videos and more of Cloud Cult’s thoughts on love at