Donald Cammell was plonked on this earth for one reason, and one reason only; and that was to make the movie Performance.
Along with Nicolas Roeg, Co-Director and cinematographer, Cammell managed to capture the fin de siecle of the nineteen-sixties like no other film maker.
Essentially a film about identity; Cammell, the most post-modern of film makers, loaded the film with imagery and symbolism; utilizing cut-up editing techniques to create montage sequences enriched with meaning: ripe for interpretation.
The use of Mick Jagger (his first acting role) as the hermetic washed-up rock star Turner, was pure visionary.
If you want to encapsulate the end of the sixties and its 'Love and Peace' ideology who better to use as a vehicle.
And it was soon after the making of this film that the Altamont Free Concert took place; captured in the movie Gimme Shelter; a film released in the same year as Performance (Warners got nervous about releasing Performance, hence the delay); identifying Jagger as an icon who really did represent the death of an era.
The selection of James Fox as Chas, the hard-boiled gangster, was also very astute.
He's so disgustingly horrible; he's pure authentic.
Considering Fox had not played a bad guy before, Cammell obviously saw something dark within him that he really brought out in his portrayal of Chas.
(Fox took time off from acting after Performance, suffering stress. Some suggested playing Chas may have blown his mind; but his response to that was his mind had been blown long before, and put his mental problems down to the use of hallucinogens.)
Chas is representative of a new breed.
A performer; a performer of violence; of violent acts, of intimidation.
And he loves it, he gets a real buzz out of it.
But he goes too far; upsets his masters; has to escape: go into hiding.
Hence the hideout at Turner's place.
Turner finds this strange new type of performer fascinating, and attempts to find out what it is that makes him 'tick'.
Turner knows that Chas is the new rock star; his own time is over; violence is the new rock n roll.
He attempts to break him down by drugging him; freaking him out; trying to blow his mind.
He even attempts to penetrate his consciousness by placing himself into Chas's hallucinatory vision; becoming the criminal boss; attempting to run things his way.
(A sequence from the film that is now considered instrumental in the development of the performance rock video.)
Turner realises by the end of the film that to move on, to remain an artist of any interest, he must enter and give way to Chas's world.
So Chas wins out.
And it's Turner who has his mind blown.
Death symbolising change and progression.
For who is it who really knows where they are going?
As for the music.
Well what I am presenting here is what can only be titled The Performance Soundtrack, The Rocket Mix.
It's not that I want to be presumptuous or dare I say it, pretentious; no, it's just my original source for the soundtrack was for some reason incomplete.
So, to beef this up a little, I've taken the original tracks and mixed them up with some movie samples.
(O and just for a bonus I added my favourite version of 'Memo From Turner', lifted from the Stones' boot Pro Masters - Outs & Alts.)
I think it sounds real good.
All segueing together rather nicely; even creating a bit of a narrative.
But hey, if you haven't seen the movie, you must.
At least half a dozen times; believe me it just gets better and better.
Various Artists - Performance Soundtrack (1970) Rocket Mix (2010)
Gone Dead Train
Chas at Work*
Rolls Royce and Acid
Wake Up Niggers*
Chas Meets Turner*
Memo From Turner
Hassan I Sabbah*
Poor White Hound Dog
Blues For Chas*
Hallucinatory sequence - Memo From Turner*
Memo From Turner (Rolling Stones)#
All from Soundtrack unless indicated
* Sampled from film
# Bonus track
Performers include Jack Nitzsche, Mick Jagger, Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, Lowell George, Merry Clayton, Buffy Saint-Marie and others.
Soundtrack ripped from cassette @320kbs
Samples ripped from DVD @320kbs
Stones' track ripped from CD @224kbs
Excellent quality throughout.
Identify with Chas and Turner here