The last living member of beloved 1960s band the Monkees is suing the FBI for the bureau’s secret files on the made-for-TV pop group.
Micky Dolenz, who played drums and occasionally sang for the band, filed a lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to get access to the FBI’s file on the group, according to Law&Crime.
“This lawsuit is designed to obtain any records the FBI created and/or possesses on the Monkees as well as its individual members,” the lawsuit states. “Mr. Dolenz has exhausted all necessary required administrative remedies with respect to his FOIA/PA request.”
Dolenz, now 77, knows the FBI gathered information on the group he played in along with Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith. A redacted version of documents on the group was posted by the bureau in 2011, titled “Additional Activities Denouncing the U.S. Policy in the War in Vietnam.” Unredacted portions include comments by an informant who said “subliminal messages” were shown on a screen behind the band during a 1967 concert that “constituted ‘left wing innovations of a political nature,’” including messages and images related to the Vietnam War.
Another file is completely redacted, according to the New York Post.
Dolenz filed a Freedom of Information Act request in June but sued after getting no response, according to Billboard.
Dolenz got the idea to pursue the possibility the FBI kept files on the band when attorney Mark Zaid, who represents him in the lawsuit, suggested they research it, the lawyer told Rolling Stone. It has long been known that the FBI kept files on John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix and others.
The FBI “was actively monitoring war dissenters, perceived radicals and anyone counter to [former bureau director] J. Edgar Hoover’s cultural beliefs, and that included the Monkees,” Zaid said.
The redacted documents the bureau released in 2011 “just kind of reinforced for me that there was actually something here,” Zaid said. “We’re still fishing, but we know there’s fish in the water.
“Theoretically, anything could be in those files. … It could be almost nothing. But we’ll see soon enough,” he added.
The FBI has not responded to numerous media inquiries about the documents.
The band was formed in 1966 and was the brainchild of Hollywood television producers who wanted to launch a sitcom featuring a pop group. Chosen for their on-camera charisma more than their musical abilities, the band members didn’t write many of their songs and session musicians typically played on their records. But with hits such as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “Daydream Believer,” they sold over 75 million albums before breaking up in 1970.
Jones died in 2012, Tork in 2019 and Nesmith last year.