In 1967, The Monkees embarked on their first-ever tour in the US and the UK, during which they played to a sea of screaming fans and — you guessed it — an FBI informant.
“During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [informant’s name redacted], constituted ‘left wing intervention of a political nature,’” a document in the Monkees FBI file reads.
“These messages and pictures were flashed of riots, in Berkley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had unfavorable response[s] from the audience.”
While those records were made public in 2011, much of the information remains heavily redacted.
After failing to get his hands on the rest of the Monkees’ files via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on 30 August, Dolenz, the band’s sole surviving member, has now filed a lawsuit against the FBI in a bid to retrieve those records once and for all.
“This lawsuit is designed to obtain any records the FBI created and/or possessed on the Monkees as well as its individual members,” the new lawsuit states. “Mr. Dolenz has exhausted all necessary required administrative remedies with respect to his [Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act] request.”
Representing the 77-year-old musician in the suit is attorney Mark S. Zaid, who himself is a longtime fan of The Monkees.
“The Monkees reflected, especially in their later years with projects like [their 1968 art house movie] Head, a counterculture from what institutional authority was at the time,” Zaid told Rolling Stone. “And [J. Edgar] Hoover’s FBI, in the Sixties in particular, was infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not.”
“I’ve been a Monkees’ fan my entire life and I have spent my entire legal career ensuring FBI accountability. It is always fun when I can combine work with fun.”