Mark: When I first heard about the band, I was strongly attracted to their
environmental principles. The more I learned about their personal
history, about their young son dying and the grieving that followed and
got played out in the music and career, the more interested I became,
and the interest grew even more when I learned about Craig Minowa's
spiritual seeking. I wouldn't have written about the band if I hadn't
liked their music very much -- the orchestral rock, the immense
variation, appeals to me. But I didn't imagine writing a book about the
band until I had witnessed a few concerts and saw the incredible caring
that the band displays toward its fans and the incredible devotion that
fans have for the band. I wanted to understand that more. What made
Cloud Cult fans so passionate? And beyond that, I began to get
interested, just partly for my own life, in questions about why we
respond to music as we do.
You said earlier that the band is not just for Cloud Cult fans. What can non-fans take away from it?
Mark: This book will appeal to anyone interested in indie rock or popular
music, or the practices of doing green business. Readers interested in
Eastern spirituality or how art can help someone move through grieving
might like this book. Here's truly the kernel of what I believe about
the audience: Chasing the Light tells
the inspiring and compelling story of a band who has lived out its
principles in its business, and who has made great art and an affirming
story out of loss and hard times -- and therefore it's a book for anyone
How much access to the band did you have during the writing/researching process?
Mark: I met (typically for a long lunch) with the members of the band except
for the Minowas, and also former manager Adrian Young, John Burgess (who
made a film about them back in 2008), and Jeff Johnson, their tour
manager. Craig and Connie Minowa and I exchanged emails -- I typically
posed a question or asked them to clarify a subject, and they'd write me
back. I didn't meet the Minowas until the book was pretty much done -- I
went down to Madison in 2013 for a concert, wanting to write a
present-tense "day in the life of an indie band" (opening to the final
chapter). That was when I met Craig and Connie.