The Monkee’s Mickey Dolenz Sues FBI Over Band File

Mickey Dolenz

Mickey Dolenz
Photo: Matthew Eisman (Getty Images)

Who can blame an artist for wanting to know how their audience perceives them, especially when that audience includes undercover FBI informants? Mickey Dolenz, the last surviving member of the seminal ’60s rock band The Monkees, is suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation for access to files the agency kept on the band during the J. Edgar Hoover era. rolling stone reports.

In 2011, the FBI publicly shared a report under FOIA which confirmed that at least one undercover FBI informant attended the Monkees’ inaugural tour in 1967. According to this informant’s observations, the Monkees were accused of using “left-wing” subliminal messages during their broadcast as a means of influencing members of the public.

“During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [informant’s name redacted], constituted a “left-wing intervention of a political character”, the report reads. “These posts and images were flashed of riots, Berkley, anti-American posts about the war in Vietnam, race riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar posts that had an unfavorable response[s] public. »

After seeing part of the lawsuit made public, Dolenz filed a FOIA request for whatever remains of the record — after the FBI failed to comply, he moved forward with the option to prosecute. The lawsuit states that it is “designed to obtain all records the FBI created and/or possessed on the Monkees as well as its individual members (with all records regarding the deceased members processed pursuant to the FOIA and the respect of Mr. Dolenz under the two PAs [the Privacy Act] and FOIA.

Dolenz, who is 77, has asked his lawyer Mark S. Zaid to file suit on his behalf – Zaid is a FOIA expert whose previous credits include defending the government whistleblower in the intervention scandal Donald Trump’s foreign election in 2019 in Ukraine. Perhaps even more importantly for his next case, Zaid has also been a self-proclaimed Monkees fan since childhood. He remembers meeting Dolenz through mutual friends and suggesting (jokingly) to find out if the FBI had a file on the group. The tantalizing seven-page 2011 revelation of the Monkees’ FBI dossier proved that Zaid’s hunch was too accurate.

“That just kind of reinforced for me that there was actually something here,” Zaid says of the portion of the FBI informant/Monkees’ concert attendee’s report that is available to the public. “It’s not just a fishing expedition. I mean, we’re still fishing, but we know there’s fish in the water.”

He continues: “The Monkees reflected, especially in their later years with projects like [their 1968 art house movie] Head, a counter-culture of what institutional authority was at the time. And [J. Edgar] Hoover’s FBI, in the 60s in particular, were infamous for policing the counterculture whether they committed illegal actions or not.

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