Last surviving member of popular Sixties band The Monkees sues FBI for secret files

The lone surviving member of the popular 1960s rock and roll group The Monkees is suing the FBI for access to the full file that the bureau compiled on the band in an effort to get some long overdue transparency on the information gathered by the feds during their glory days.

This week, 77-year-old George Michael Dolenz Jr. who is better known by his performing name of Mickey Dolenz filed a lawsuit in D.C. federal court demanding that the FBI turn over all of its unredacted information on him and his bandmates after Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests failed to pry loose the material. A heavily redacted version of the files was released in 2011.

“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 reads, according to Billboard. “Mr. Dolenz has exhausted all necessary required administrative remedies with respect to his [Freedom Of Information Act/Privacy Act] request.”

According to Billboard, “The suit notes that Dolenz, 77, and the three deceased members of the Monkees — singer/guitarist Michael Nesmith, bassist/singer Peter Tork and singer Davy Jones — ‘were known to have associated with other musicians and individuals whose activities were monitored and/or investigated b the FBI, to include, but not limited to: John Winston Lennon (and the three other Beatles as well) and Jimi Hendrix.'”

One of the documents that was released in 2011 and posted in redacted form on the FBI vault website has the Los Angeles-based group’s name misspelled as “Monkees” on the cover page and states of the band’s television series which ran from 1966–1968 that “This series, which has been quite successful features four young men who dress as ‘beatnik types’ and is geared primarily to the teenage market.”

(Image: Screengrab/FBI Vault)

The document also states that during a Monkees concert, the band was “using a device in the form of a screen set up behind the performers who played certain instruments and sang as a ‘combo.’ During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which in the opinion of [name redacted] constituted ‘left wing’ innovations of a political nature.’

(Image: Screengrab/FBI Vault)

“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 from the audience,” the document reads of the crude messaging during concerts that, when compared to today’s insane leftist politicization of entertainment, are very tame but in the context of the turbulent decade, they caught the attention of the authorities who were very concerned about the hippie generation.

Dolenz, who played drums and occasionally sang for the group filed a FOIA request in June and, after not receiving an answer, filed the lawsuit against the FBI.

During their recording career, The Monkees had a number of big hits including “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

(Video: YouTube/The Monkees)

The band members would continue to be beloved by fans and over the subsequent decades, performed together in various configurations until Jones, Tork and Nesmith all passed away, leaving Dolenz as the sole survivor of the iconic group.

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Chris Donaldson


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