New Kids on the Block cancel Australia tour

Economic downturn to blame, Donnie Wahlberg says

SYDNEY -- Reunited '80s boy band New Kids on the Block has canceled a tour of Australia, blaming the economic downturn amid reports of poor ticket sales.

Donnie Wahlberg said in a blog post on the band's Web site that they had "exhausted efforts" to get the tour off the ground but it was proving to be "too complex."

"We are, in fact, in the middle of a worldwide recession and we just cannot make it work," he said without referring to reports that weak ticket sales had forced the decision.

The U.S. group, formed when the five band members were all teenagers, sold more than 70 million albums with their hits including "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving You," before breaking up in 1994.

They got back together last year and released their first album in 14 years, "The Block," before embarking on a tour. The band is currently touring the U.S. and Canada.

Wahlberg said the group was "saddened" to cancel the Australian trip scheduled for August as the nation had "always, always, been one of our favorite places to travel to."

"We can only assure you that when the recession's stranglehold on the world's economies eases up a bit -- we will find a way to make this work," he said.