Micky Dolenz, of The Monkees, sues the FBI for access to the group’s personal files
Micky Dolenz, the lone surviving member of the Monkees, is suing the FBI for withholding records that may pertain to him, his deceased bandmates, or the Monkees themselves.
On Tuesday, August 30th, the band member filed a lawsuit through his attorney, Mark Zaid, demanding disclosure of records related to the band and its members from the Department of Justice.
Dolenz had previously tried to obtain the materials by filing a Freedom of Information Act request, which grants the public access to records held by any government agency. This information was first revealed by Rolling Stone. Dolenz is still waiting for a reply.
The Monkees were the subject of an FBI probe into anti-Vietnam War sentiment in 1967. Official FBI documents with redactions include reports from an agent who was there for the concert.
“‘The Monkees’ concert was using a device in the form of a screen set up behind the performers who played certain instruments and sang as a ‘combo.’ During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which in the opinion of (name redacted), constituted ‘left-wing innovations of a political nature,'” the file reads. “These messages and pictures were flashes of riots in Berkeley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma Alabama, and similar messages which had received unfavorable response from the audience.”
Lawyer for Dolenz told USA Today the lawsuit “seeks to expose why the FBI was monitoring the Monkees and/or its individual members.”
He continued, “We know the mid-to-late 1960s saw the FBI surveil Hollywood anti-war advocates and those who represented the counter-culture of the flower/hippie/drug use movement.” And the Monkees were right in the middle of it, hanging out with musicians like Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon, who were also targets of the FBI’s Project Mockingbird.
Moreover, he believes the FBI should “reveal its secret Monkees files and help the public learn more about an important era of American history.”
The band became well-known after the premiere of their smash NBC series “The Monkees,” on September 12, 1966. They went on to have a string of Top 40 hits, including “Daydream Believer,” “That Was Then, This Is Now,” and “I’m a Believer.” and to record additional albums. After two years of no new episodes, the band finally disbanded in 1970.
Bandmates included Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith.