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Micky Dolenz Sues FBI Over Monkees File

Matthew Eisman, Getty Images
Matthew Eisman, Getty Images

Micky Dolenz is suing the FBI over documents regarding the Monkees.

In 1967, an FBI informant attended one of the group’s concerts and took notes on the performance. About 10 years ago, a select portion of this file was publicly released.

“During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [informant’s name redacted], constituted ‘left-wing intervention of a political nature,'” reads the document in the FBI file, which at first incorrectly spells the name of the band as “The Monkeys.” “These messages and pictures were flashed of riots, in Berkley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Ala., and similar messages which had unfavorable response[s] from the audience.”

Dolenz, the last surviving member of the Monkees, has previously attempted to have the rest of the files released via a Freedom of Information Act request, which was filed in June but has not been successful. The new lawsuit, which Dolenz has filed with the assistance of attorney Mark S. Zaid, “is designed to obtain any records the FBI created and/or possesses on the Monkees as well as its individual members.”

Zaid said he is a fan of the group. “My babysitter, who was about 10 years older than me, gave me her collection of Monkees albums in 1975 when I was just a little kid,” he told Rolling Stone. “That turned me into a big fan, and I went to see their initial reunion tour in 1986. I’ve seen them about eight times after that, and I even got to meet Davy Jones right before he died.”

It was Zaid who first suggested to Dolenz that it may be interesting to see if the FBI had a file on the Monkees. Various artists have been investigated over the years, including John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley, and as one of the most popular bands of the late 1960s, the Monkees were perhaps of interest to the government as a potential source of counterculture activity.

“The Monkees reflected, especially in their later years with projects like [their 1968 movie] Head, a counterculture from what institutional authority was at the time,” Zaid said. “And [J. Edgar] Hoover’s FBI, in the ’60s in particular, was infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not.”

According to Zaid, a judge will be assigned to the case shortly. “Theoretically, anything could be in those files, though,” he noted. “We have no idea what records even exist. It could be almost nothing. But we’ll see soon enough.”

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