Walrus Undeterred By Avis Car Rental Ban

As Halifax indie-rock band Walrus prepares to bring 2017 to a close, one can’t help but marvel at all they have accomplished.

In addition to maintaining a seemingly endless tour schedule that they could rightfully claim makes them the hardest-working band in Canada, they also released their full-length album Family Hangover, as well as a digital split-single with fellow indie rock faves WHOOP-Szo.

Unfortunately for the group, they are ending their otherwise banner year on a bit of a sour note: Earlier this fall, the group discovered it has been banned by Avis car rentals, having perhaps interpreted the company’s “unlimited kilometres” policy a little too liberally.

“We were actually very up front and open with the agent that rented us the vehicle. We let him know we were planning on driving to California,” Walrus’ Justin Murphy begins.

It was while the band was in California that the group had their Avis rental van broken into, a robbery in which they lost several pieces of equipment along with some merchandise.

When it came time to secure a vehicle for their fall tour, the group was informed by the company they would have to use a vendor other than Avis. Although they believed Avis’ refusal to rent them a vehicle was based on the fact their previously rental was damaged in the robbery, Murphy says the company came clean about the real reason why they were being declined a vehicle.

“Unlike other rental car companies, Avis apparently lease their vehicles, meaning they have to keep a little bit more of a closer watch on the mileage customers are putting on. Our previous trip to California was viewed as having taken advantage of the unlimited mileage policy, and so we are forced to get our rental vehicles elsewhere.”

Rental vehicle debacle aside, Murphy acknowledges that 2017 has otherwise been a stellar year for the group. Aside from having literally played all over Canada and the United States, the band also spent upwards of two weeks in Europe supporting Halifax ex-pats WIntersleep on their tour of the continent.

“It was our first time playing in Europe, and it was amazing. Crowds are so much more attentive there, especially compared with some audiences in Canada and the U.S. European audiences see shows as an experience, where bands on this side of the ocean are sometimes considered as nothing more than incidental entertainment in a club.”

With more touring expected to keep the band busy throughout 2018, Murphy acknowledges the notion of being at home is a bit of a foreign concept to the members of the group, but that there is nothing else they would rather be doing.

“It’s weird when you end up back at home for a couple of weeks because I’d argue it takes the better part of two weeks before you really start to be able to relax, and then before you know it, you’re thrown right back into another touring cycle. We’re not complaining in the least though, it’s what we signed up for.”

What: Walrus
When: Thursday Nov. 30, 9 p.m.
Where: Thunder & Lightning, 23 Bridge St., Sackville
Tickets are $10, available at the door