Walking away from a good thing can be hard.
After a few years of wondering if his heart was still in it, Aidan Grapengeter of the Denver-based pop-punk band Postcards decided to quit. The band will play its final show at the Marquis Theatre on Friday, March 22.
For Grapengeter, doubts began around 2016, after the group released My Departure. Things were going well: Postcards drew crowds locally, played the right tours and passed 100,000 streams on Spotify, and the industry started taking notice.
“I think basically I kept thinking that, ‘Oh, now that we have management, it will be more fun' for whatever reason, and 'now that we’re talking to labels I never thought we would talk to, and maybe I should just stay,’” says Grapengeter. “But then I realized that it doesn’t change anything if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing.”
Grapengeter began the project at 15. At the time, he loved everything about being in a band. At 22, it felt out of sync with the rest of his life. The lineup had been a revolving door of more than two dozen guitarists, leaving Grapengeter and long time drummer Alex Scott driving the project.
“I still enjoy writing and whatnot, but I don’t really like playing shows. I like traveling, but I don’t really like touring anymore,” says Grapengeter. “I wish I could peg it down better, but it’s more of an overall feeling as opposed to one thing.”
Postcards deserved the attention it received; the band put out one solid record after another, and Grapengeter’s songs were well constructed and catchy, with an effortlessness that so many pop-punk bands struggle to find.
“Everyone who’s ever been in the band, and our fans and friends or whatever you want to call them, everyone's super-inclusive. We were never too fucking cool for anyone like a lot of band dudes are. No one’s alienated from a Postcards show,” says Grapengeter.
Even so, “I realized to the people around me, I was always preaching, 'Do what you love, and not to do something because your parents want you to do it or what your friends think you should do.' Then I realized that I was a giant poser if I kept playing in a band even though I hated it,” he says.
At the end of the day, Grapengeter is simply ready to close this chapter of his life and take some time to focus on his day job, buying and reselling vintage clothing. “I’ve become super-duper passionate about vintage and whatnot," he says, noting he's the third generation in his family to be a "picker."
"It’s kind of how I used to feel about music when I first started. I’ve been doing vintage for a couple of years now, and I’m super on fire about it,” says Grapengeter, who is quick to note he doesn’t regret his time in Postcards.
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“I’ve learned a lot from being in Postcards, but it taught me how to run a business in a non-orthodox way, how to actually work at something and achieve goals. It was the first thing in my life where I was manifesting the things I wanted to do, and it taught me a lot about that.”
Walking away is hard, and sometimes it takes real guts to be honest with yourself about your personal happiness.
“I know it’s kind of corny, but do what you want to be doing, even if that isn’t being in a band or something cool like that," says Grapengeter. "It doesn’t have to be anything that people would think is cool. Just go do what you want to do. We’re all going to die anyway."
Postcards final show, 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street, $15.