Monkees’ Regarding a 'secret dossier' on the band, Micky Dolenz sues the FBI.
FBI has a redacted file on a 1960s quartet, but the records offer scant hints as to why the band caught the attention of federal authorities.
In this image from 1967, Micky Dolenz is shown with his comrades Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork.
The last surviving member of the Monkees sues FBI over a "secret dossier" he says the agency has on him and his former bandmates.
Micky Dolenz, 77, the former frontman of the popular 1960s British-American combo, filed the lawsuit through his attorney Mark Zaid, a Freedom of Information specialist and music fan who told Rolling Stone magazine it would be "fun."
Zaid said he met Dolenz, whose band recorded hits such as I am a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville and Daydream Believer, through mutual friends.
According to Rolling Stone, Zaid said he suggested to Dolenz "it might be fun to see if the FBI has a file on him or his former bandmates." Shortly thereafter, Zaid learned that such a file did indeed exist and that a heavily redacted, seven-page excerpt was released in 2011.
"That reinforced to me that there was indeed something there," Vaid said. "It's not just a fishing expedition. I mean, we are still fishing, but we know there are fish in the water."
The cover page of the FBI file on the agency's website incorrectly refers to "the monkeys." The documents give few clues as to why the band was of interest to federal agents, other than that it was the Vietnam War era and the government was sensitive to criticism from prominent Hollywood actors and pop musicians.
In a section titled "Additional Activities Denouncing U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War," nearly an entire page is blacked out. But the file describes the Monkees as a "quite successful" band with "four young men who dressed as 'beatnik types' ... and aimed primarily at the teenage market."
During one Monkees concert, it says, "subliminal messages were shown on the screen that, according to an agent whose name is redacted, were 'left-wing innovations of a political nature,' including video footage with 'anti-U.S. messages about the war in Vietnam.'"
The Monkees were not known as an overtly political band - they were formed for television - but the song Last Train to Clarksville was about a man going off to war and not knowing if he'll see his loved ones again.
Zaid said he filed a standard Freedom of Information request in June, asking to see the band's complete file FBI as well as any individual files on Dolenz and his late bandmates Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith.
When the agency did not respond, Zaid said he decided to move forward with the lawsuit.