The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Sues FBI Over 1967 Investigative Files on the Group

Micky Dolenz, the last surviving member of the Monkees, has filed a lawsuit in order to receive other FBI records collected on the group, according to a report. The file in question was released in 2011 and revealed that an FBI agent was sent to attend the Monkees’ 1967 concert in Los Angeles to investigate “subliminal messages” in the group’s on-stage projection, including those spreading anti-Vietnam war messaging.

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The suit alleges that the group “were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored and/or investigated by the FBI,” including Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles (specifically John Lennon), and more. 

“During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen, which, in the opinion of [redacted informant’s name], constituted ‘left-wing intervention of a political nature,’” reads the document. “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[s] from the audience.”

In early 2022, Dolenz filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to acquire the FBI files around the Monkees and is now suing the agency for their lack of response to the initial request.

“This lawsuit is designed to obtain any records the FBI created and/or possessed on the Monkees as well as its individual members (with all records concerning the deceased members processed pursuant to FOIA,” reads the lawsuit, “and with respect to Mr. Dolenz under both PA [the Privacy Act] and FOIA.”

In a statement, Dolenz’ lawyer Mark S. Zaid, known for representing the whistleblower during former President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal, said he is working with Dolenz to hold the FBI accountable for this FOIA request.

“FOIA is an important tool to ensure the public can learn about what our government is up to, whether involving an individual—famous or not—or a group,” said Zaid. “The FBI monitored musicians such as the Monkees during the tumultuous 1960s and this new lawsuit is designed to determine just how far their efforts went.”

Formed in 1966, the Monkees already had four No. 1 albums by 1967 and gained stardom in the midst of the Vietnam War and during a culture of larger-scale drug use in America.

“Some informant, probably an FBI agent who wanted to take their kid to The Monkees concert, went to The Monkees show in, I think, San Francisco, and filed a report back to the FBI about the anti-war protest movement,” added Zaid. “Why was the FBI surveilling The Monkees, whether the individual members or the band, what does it say? And what does it say, larger, about the activities of the FBI during the 1960s.”

Dolenz is the last surviving member of the group. Monkees singer and songwriter Michael Nesmith died of natural causes on Dec 10, 2021, at the age of 78. Nesmith and Dolenz played their final show together at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 14, 2021, during The Monkees Farewell Tour and were also scheduled to play the Beach Boys Cruise Tour in March 2022.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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