Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz sues the FBI to access file made on the band in the ’60s

Micky Dolenz, the last surviving member of The Monkees, sued the FBI Tuesday for documents compiled on the band during the late 1960s.

On June 14, George Michael “Micky” Dolenz Jr. initially filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the complete file, which was released in redacted form in 2011.

The FBI responded with a receipt confirming the request on June 23, but the bureau has not sent the documents or otherwise corresponded with Mr. Dolenz since then.

“Mr. Dolenz has exhausted all necessary required administrative remedies with respect to his FOIA/PA request. Mr. Dolenz is entitled to timely receipt of non-exempt copies of all records responsive to his FOIA/PA request,” the lawsuit’s filing states.

In the publicly available documents, where two pages have been deleted and remaining pages redacted, an informant describes a Monkees concert where messages and images played on a screen depicting the Vietnam war and civil rights protests at the time.

The documents in the FBI vault say that a person, whose name is redacted, described the images as “left-wing innovations of a political nature.”

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The FBI at the time was run by J. Edgar Hoover and was known to have kept files on civil rights leaders and others. Mr. Dolenz’s court filing mentions The Monkees’ association with two such figures, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.

“The FBI was actively monitoring war dissenters, perceived radicals and anyone counter to J. Edgar Hoover‘s cultural beliefs, and that included the Monkees!” Mr. Dolenz’s lawyer Mark Zaid told Law & Crime.

The aim of the suit, the filing explains, is to “obtain any records the FBI created and/or possesses on the Monkees as well as its individual members.”

“The FBI monitored musicians such as the Monkees during the tumultuous 1960s and this new lawsuit is designed to determine just how far their efforts went,” Mr. Zaid said in a statement to Pitchfork.

Mr. Zaid, a childhood fan of the band, filed the FOIA request on Mr. Dolenz’s behalf.

When the two were introduced to each other recently, Mr. Zaid suggested, unknowing of the 2011 records release, that they check if the FBI had a file on the band on a lark. Learning about the redacted documents only fueled Mr. Zaid’s interest.

“It’s not just a fishing expedition. I mean, we’re still fishing, but we know there’s fish in the water,” Mr. Zaid told Rolling Stone magazine.

What redacted information is in the FBI’s documents? Mr. Zaid suggests it might be less juicy than you’d think.

“The redacted information may be peripheral to them. Some of them likely reflect an informant’s identity, which was probably the person attending the concerts. … We have no idea what records even exist. It could be almost nothing. But we’ll see soon enough,” Mr. Zaid told Rolling Stone.

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