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The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Sues the FBI Over ’60s-Era Files

One would hope the U.S. government had better things to do than spy on America's favorite TV band
Credit: Paul Undersigner

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz is taking the last train to …federal court. The beloved ’60s group’s lone surviving member has filed suit against the FBI “to obtain any records the FBI created and/or possesses on the Monkees as well as its individual members” following the agency’s lack of a timely response to a June Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, according to paperwork reviewed by SPIN.

The suit says Dolenz, 77, and late Monkees members Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork “were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored and/or investigated by the FBI,” including the members of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, among others.

“In fact, the FBI acknowledges on its website that it maintains responsive records regarding the Monkees, including information that continues to be withheld. It describes seven pages as follows: The Monkees were a U.S. pop band created for a television show of the same name in 1966. The band also toured and made record albums even after the show was cancelled. References to the band appear in two places in FBI files: a 1967 Los Angeles Field Office memorandum on anti-Vietnam war activities and a second document redacted entirely.”

A brief portion of one FBI document was released more than a decade ago, involving an FBI informant’s report from a show on the Monkees’ debut 1967 tour. “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,’” the document says. “These messages and pictures were flashed of riots, in Berkley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had unfavorable response[s] from the audience.”

With the help of controversial attorney Mark Zaid, Dolenz filed a FOIA request for the rest of the files on June 14 with the FBI, which acknowledged the filing nine days later but has yet to respond further. Dolenz is seeking immediate disclosure of all Monkees-related FBI records as well as court and attorney costs.

Dolenz recently spoke with SPIN about the five albums he can’t live without. He has a handful of shows on tap this fall, beginning Oct. 7 in Hanover, Pa.