July 23, 1967: The Doors Inspire Writer Tom Robbins

The Doors inspire Tom Robbins

The Doors were an influential group right from the start. The Doors’ and Jim Morrison’s performances were so different that they inspired their contemporaries to pursue artistic paths. Both Iggy Pop and Patti Smith have said that seeing The Doors live and Morrison’s performances in particular inspired them to pursue a career in rock ‘n’ roll. Dick Wolf saw The Doors at Boston University and later produced The Doors documentary “When You’re Strange” and while we can’t be sure if seeing Jim Morrison live inspired Wolf to create a show called “Law & Order,” one never knows.

A Doors concert also pointed the way for an aspiring young writer who, after witnessing the spectacle of The Doors live at Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on Washington on July 23, 1967, said that he had found his voice as a writer. That writer was Tom Robbins.

Tom Robbins in 1967
Tom Robbins in 1967

Robbins would go on to write bestsellers such as “Still Life with Woodpecker,” “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” and “Skinny Legs and All.” The titles themselves reveal Robbins’ unique style and if you ever read those books you’ll discover novels written from an absurdist viewpoint. They’re also some of the most memorable and funny novels you will read.

In the introduction of the booklet for “The Doors Box Set” Robbins tells of his feelings after seeing The Doors: “I wrote with a vigor, a freedom, a precision-within-abandon that I heretofore had never attained.” His immediate reaction to seeing The Doors caused him to whip out a review for Helix, the underground newspaper he was writing for at the time. Stacking adjective upon metaphor, Robbins’ review of The Doors hints at his future literary style, saying “The Doors are carnivores in a land of musical vegetarians.”

In Robbins’ new memoir (a loose term in his hands; the book is more a series of anecdotes of his life that he has told his girlfriends over his lifetime), “Tibetan Peach Pie,” Robbins relates that it wasn’t the concert itself that led to his style. It was more like getting permission to do “what he had been planning to do since the age of five.”

Originally published July 23, 2015.

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