Here’s Why The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Is Suing The FBI Over The Agency’s File On The Band

Here’s Why The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Is Suing The FBI Over The Agency’s File On The Band


Micky Dolenz, the last surviving member of the supergroup the Monkees, sued the Department of Justice Tuesday in a bid to obtain FBI files kept on the band throughout the ’60s as the Monkees included controversial anti-war statements in their songs and concerts amid the domestic social turmoil sparked by the Vietnam War.

The Monkees were among the most popular bands of the mid-1960s.


Key Facts

Dolenz, 77, had the lawsuit filed on his behalf by attorney Mark S. Zaid, a lifelong Monkees fan and Freedom of Information Act litigation expert, according to Rolling Stone, which first reported the news of the lawsuit.

While the FBI published one heavily redacted document from the file in 2011, it did not respond to an FOI request filed by Dolenz in June to obtain any other documents held by the FBI related to the Monkees, which pushed Dolenz to seek a lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks for the FBI to release to Dolenz any files related to the Monkees as a band and any individual member, and for the court to award reasonable costs and attorney fees.

The FBI did not immediately return a Forbes request for comment.

What To Watch For

The case will be assigned a judge in a matter of days, Zaid told Rolling Stone, which will kick-start the process to determine whether the files will be released.

What We Don’t Know

What information is included in the FBI’s file on the Monkees. Zaid said the redacted information likely sheds light on the identity of the informant who attended the band’s show in the 1960s. “Theoretically, anything could be in those files though,” Zaid told Rolling Stone. “We have no idea what records even exist. It could be almost nothing. But we’ll see soon enough.”

Surprising Fact

Zaid was also one of the lawyers who represented the government whistle-blower in former President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scandal that led to the president’s first impeachment. He met Dolenz through mutual friends and was the one who suggested that the former Monkees’ drummer and vocalist request the band’s FBI files, he told Rolling Stone.

Key Background

While the Monkees were less politically outspoken than many of their counterparts in the mid-1960s, many of their songs included subtle anti-war sentiments, including one of their most popular singles, “Last Train to Clarksville.” In 2011, the FBI released a heavily redacted seven-page 1967 memorandum on anti-Vietnam War activities from the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office that included the testimony of an informant who attended a Monkees concert. The informant described images flashed on the screen behind the band as a “left-wing intervention of a political nature” that included “anti-U.S. messages” on the Vietnam War and civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama. That memorandum also refers to an unreleased second FBI document concerning the Monkees that is entirely redacted, according to the agency. Zaid told Rolling Stone that in the 1960s under then director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI was “infamous for monitoring the counterculture, whether they committed unlawful actions or not.” The lawsuit noted that the FBI also kept files on entertainment figures with whom the Monkees associated themselves, including legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix and the more outspoken Beatles.


The FBI kept files on Hollywood entertainers and other high-profile figures for decades. Many of those are related to threats of extortion or violence investigated by the FBI, like in the case of actress Elizabeth Taylor. Others, like writer Norman Mailer and actor and director Charlie Chaplin, were suspected of having communist sympathies, while singer, actor and cultural icon Frank Sinatra appeared in files over his alleged mob ties.

Further Reading

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Would Like a Word With the FBI (Rolling Stone)

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