He’s not joking anymore.
The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz sued the Justice Department on Tuesday in an attempt to obtain secret files the FBI compiled on the pop rock band as they protested the Vietnam War during their counterculture heyday. 1960s.
The 77-year-old singer – the only surviving member of the made-for-TV band – has filed a lawsuit in Washington, DC, in federal court after his attempts to obtain the recordings via the Freedom of Information Act were been ignored, the legal documents say.
“This lawsuit is designed to obtain all records that the FBI has created and/or possesses of the Monkees as well as its individual members,” he says of the “renowned and beloved rock band.”
The The FBI website confirms the group is the subject of two files – including, mysteriously, one that is “fully redacted”.
The other is a 1967 memorandum from the Los Angeles field office that was released in heavily redacted form in 2011 – unknown at the time to Dolenz and his attorney.
Under the spelling mistake subject “THE MONKEYS”, the filing said he had investigated “four young men who dress as ‘beatnik types'” who “sang in ‘combo'”.
An FBI informant – whose identity has been redacted – detailed how the Monkees performed live with “subliminal messages” on a stage – which “constituted ‘left-wing intervention of a political nature'”.
“These posts and images were flashed of riots, Berkley, anti-American Vietnam War posts, race riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar posts that received an unfavorable response from the public,” indicates the folder.
No further action was mentioned.
Dolenz didn’t even realize the redacted document existed when his lawyer friend and self-proclaimed “big fan” Mark Zaid first suggested on a whim that they see if the FBI had a file on him, Zaid says Rolling Stone.
This redacted document “just kind of reinforced for me that there was actually something here,” Zaid told the rock magazine.
“It’s not just a fishing expedition. I mean, we’re still fishing, but we know there’s fish in the water,” he said, conceding that the fully redacted document “may be peripheral” to the tape.
“Theoretically anything could be in those files,” Zaid noted. “We have no idea what records exist. It could be next to nothing. But we’ll see soon enough.
The lawsuit noted that Dolenz and his late bandmates — Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones — hung out with other rock stars observed by the FBI, such as Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.
And, despite being a fun-loving pop group, The Monkees also sprinkled anti-war sentiments into chart-topping songs like “Last Train to Clarksville,” Zaid noted.
The FBI at the time “was infamous for policing the counterculture, whether they committed illegal actions or not,” the lawyer pointed out.
The lawsuit seeks “reasonable costs”, fees and remedies as well as expedited copies and attorneys’ fees and expedited copies of the files withheld “in their entirety”.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.