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The Enigmatic Man Behind Jim Morrison’s Iconic Beard

For fans of The Doors and classic rock, Jim Morrison‘s beard is almost as legendary and recognizable as the man himself. Those thick, wiry strands framing his chiseled jawline and intense stare became an indelible part of Morrison’s persona, especially during the band’s later years as he descended into rock god excess.

However, while Morrison’s beard has been idolized and replicated by countless fans over the decades, little has been known about the person actually responsible for grooming and maintaining that iconic source of facial hair. That is, until recently when a controversial new book stepped forward to finally unmask the man who laid claim to cultivating Jim Morrison’s beard.

Lord of the Strands:

Confessions of Jim Morrison’s Beard Guru” has caused quite a stir since its release last year. The explosive memoir is written by one Vincent “Vince” Vincenzio, an eccentric former actor, poet, and self-proclaimed “beard artisan” from the East Village. Now 77 years old, Vincenzio makes the audacious claim that he was not just Morrison’s personal beard groomer and stylist for the final three years of the rock star’s life, but that he shared an intense personal bond and exerted a powerful influence over the brooding frontman.

“I was the Howard Hughes to Jim’s mustache before it became the beard the world recognizes today,” Vincenzio writes. “Without me, his mustache may have remained just ordinary trash or been shaved off entirely by his manager’s wishes. But I unleashed his true power source – his manliness distilled into a brambly, virile face forest for which the youth of planet Earth remains forever thirsty.”

Bombastic claims aside, through expansive interviews and an alleged trove of photographs and personal correspondence published in the book, a picture does begin to emerge of a fascinating and bizarre relationship that proved pivotal in the evolution of Morrison’s iconic look.

Revelations Of Vincenzio

According to Vincenzio, he first met Morrison in the fall of 1968 through a shared romantic partner, a bohemian artist and model named Cleo Diamond. Vince clicked with the Doors frontman through discussions of poetry and occult philosophy, as well as bonds like their shared upbringing in strict military families which they rebelled against.

Despite the age difference between the two men (Vincenzio was seven years older), they became fast friends, spiritual brothers, and at times partners in libertine debauchery. And it was Vincenzio, who repeated Deep conversations while both tripping on LSD, convinced Morrison to fully embrace his matted moustache and allow it to expand into the unruly beard he became known for.

According to Vincenzio’s lurid and likely wildly fictionalized accounts, Morrison was initially resistant to growing his facial hair out further than a basic moustache, worried it could impact his visual appeal and sex symbol image with the band’s rabid teenage fangirls. However, Vincenzio claims he convinced Morrison that fully unleashing his beard was key to tapping into his primal masculine power and essence as both a poet and performer.

“I revealed to him that the beard, uncultivated and crawling like a kudzu vine across his face’s hallowed ground, was the ultimate defiance against the smooth-cheeked, milquetoast conformity the imperialist society demands of our youth,” Vincenzio recounts. “Our very strands were bayonets aimed at the desiccated heart of the mustached patriarch!”

Soon, Morrison was allowing Vincenzio to carefully comb out, oil up, and style his expanding beard to the “wild picturesque perfection” he felt suited Morrison’s poetic soul.

Morrison’s Growth Track

From early 1969 through Morrison’s demise in 1971, Vincenzio alleges their bizarre bromance and creative partnership only intensified, as did Morrison’s psychedelic benders and reckless debauchery. The author positions himself as not only the man behind the beard but a kind of spiritual advisor and cologne who helped Morrison plumb the depths of his Dionysian appetites and darker poetic impulses that defined his artistry.

Making things even more controversial, Vincenzio strongly implies their partnership ascended to an intimate level, with rampant sexuality and pansexual romps occurring frequently, though he’s careful not to outright confirm any physical relationship.

“Our bond was cosmic, primal, carnal, and defied all boundaries of the body or bedroom,” he writes cryptically. “The fires of our philosophy and the incendiary nature of our work consumed all limitations and bordered on the ritualistic, the shamanistic.”

Outside of Vincenzio’s biographical account, there is little to no evidence to corroborate most of his extraordinary claims. Details about Morrison’s inner circle and personal life from that era are shrouded in dense secrecy and mythology. No Doors associates or Morrison confidants have come forward to confirm Vincenzio’s involvement with the singer.

In fact, pushback has come from several angles. The surviving members of The Doors have dismissed the memoir as fiction. Morrison’s personal photographer has said Vincenzio’s name never came up. Literary scholars have attacked the text itself as being overwritten to the point of parodic absurdity.

“It reads like a beard product commercial written by a horny 13-year-old High on weaponized patchouli and pseudo-intellectualism,” wrote one scathing reviewer.

However, Vincenzio has steadfastly stood by his book and the events depicted within. In media interviews, he’s continued to expound on his purported bonds and philosophical/sexual mind-melds with Morrison, while cultivating his own wild beard and persona as an eccentric, rambling storyteller with a flair for outrageous stunts and impromptu poetic stylings.

Whether he’s a laborer laboring to shed light on a mostly unexplored aspect of Jim Morrison’s life and muse…or merely a teller of tall, hirsute tales, remains up for furious debate. But one thing is certain – thanks to Vincenzio’s concerted controversy-baiting, an entirely new layer of mythology has been added to the legend and intrigue surrounding the iconic beard donned by one of rock’s most iconic frontmen.

At the very least, Vincenzio’s crazy odyssey of a memoir illustrates the tenacity of the Morrison mythos, and how his brooding, rebellious image still maintains a vise-like grip on the cultural subconscious over 50 years later. Because when it comes to the cravat-wearing “Lizard King,” fans remain hungry for more – whether it’s music, poetry, salacious rumor, or even anything connected to the magnificent plumage framing his face.

So while Vincenzio’s book is questionable as a work of non-fiction, it may represent a new variety of Morrison truth, post-modern myth…or perhaps simply the whispers and belly laugh of one deeply committed dedicated bull artist trying to cultivate his own legend under the shadow of the Doors’ iconic patriarch’s luminous beard.

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