Echo & The Bunnymen, circa 2005

Echo & The Bunnymen today announced it was forced to cancel this month’s eight-date American tour “due to unreasonable demands (that have) been presented by the IRS for the band to enter the USA to tour.”

Although the group does not elaborate on what those demands were, news reports suggest the band ran afoul of “some weird, complicated IRS rule that requires foreign bands to pay a fee if they tour more than once in 30 days within the United States,” which other reports claim would comprise “a shocking 30 percent of their show profits.”

Whatever the cause, Ian McCulloch and Co. — who played 1984’s classic Ocean Rain in its entirety at three North American concerts last month, in addition to headlining a New York City club gig — “with the deepest regret” today scrubbed the short U.S. tour that would have started Nov. 15 in Atlanta in support of the just-released The Fountain.

UPDATE 10/6/09: The Bunnymen’s U.S. publicist today issued a press release better explaining why the band’s tour was canceled. According to the release, the tour was scuttled after the IRS rejected the band’s Central Withholding Agreement (CWA).

The release continues:

“The rejection was unexpected as the Echo & the Bunnymen team submitted the necessary paperwork in due time and in accordance with the process that had been followed on previous tours. Additionally, the IRS offered no reasoning for the rejection and was unresponsive to our inquiries. This CWA allows for foreign entertainers to be paid in full, otherwise promoters are legally obliged to withhold a minimum of 30 percent in lieu of tax which ultimately will not allow for a tour to happen at this time.”

The good news, however is that, according to the band’s official site, “Echo & The Bunnymen will be touring the USA from East to West coasts in April 2010.” Fans with tickets to the aborted November gigs are instructed to seek refunds from the venues.

See the Bunnymen’s canceled U.S. tour dates after the jump…

Canceled Echo & The Bunnymen tour dates:

Nov. 15: Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
Nov. 17: Black Cat, Washington, DC
Nov. 18: State Theatre, State College, PA
Nov. 20: Kewsick Theatre, Glenside, PA
Nov. 21: StageOne, Fairfield, CT
Nov. 22: Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
Nov. 23: House of Blues, Boston, MA
Nov. 25: Metro, Chicago, IL

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