#1818  by settledowneasy91
 Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:10 pm
im not trying to bad mouth bobby or anything, but whats with this song? Its the kind of thing that gives little kids nightmares!!! :shock:

 #2048  by strumminsix
 Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:19 am
I never dug it and have never even been inspired or bored enough to play it.

I love Bobby but not when he plays this song. I just like him then. :P

 #3612  by shakedown_04092
 Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:54 pm
Anybody have the signature riff played during Victim? Any info would be greatly appreciated. I know it's not the most popular song, but something I've wanted to play for a while now, so I'm trying to tackle it tonight.

Thanks again,


 #5025  by maximinus
 Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:12 pm
I'm a bass player in a dead cover band, and this is what I do for the main riff:
Code: Select all
The walkup part after that can be done with:
Code: Select all
I'm sure you can get the guitar part out of that somehow. A great song from Bobby!
 #5030  by synapticbloom
 Fri Apr 21, 2006 8:47 pm
Earlier today I had been reading through the annotated lyrics about this song and stumbled into an essay by the writer of the lyrics, Gerrit Graham. It recalled the initial dilemna about what I too see as the stigma of the word "junkie" in and out of the band(s) Bob played it with and the science of the art of the practice of not only being human but a musician as well. so here is the link to the essay for your as informed as one can be from here now reading pleasure. lovingly family_Benjamin http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/votc.html

 #6446  by nedcat
 Sat Jun 17, 2006 3:05 pm
OK I am sorry for rippin' the shidt outta this tune. It was uncalled for and I am sorry. I must consider the......no forget it....I still cant stand it!!!

 #35084  by BOUKINATOR
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:39 pm
strumminsix wrote:I never dug it and have never even been inspired or bored enough to play it.
oh how things change! huh Nick???


 #35094  by Mr.Charlie
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:55 pm
I have to admit, I'm not a big fan either, this used to be one of the big songs me and my really good deadhead friend would argue about. BAck in the day growing up we would listen to so much dead together, but this song was always a point or arguement. NEVER dug it. He, however, loved it.

 #35097  by shakedown_04092
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:54 pm
FYI - thought I posted this somewhere else (maybe I did) but I'm too lazy to look. Anyways, this is what I've gathered so far - may or may not be right in all or some of it's parts.
Code: Select all
Victim or the Crime
Intro.: B5 | B5 | B5 | B5 |      Key of C#m? 

Verse 1: 

B5      | B5    | 
Patience runs out on the junkie, 
B5      | B5 | 
The dark side hires another soul. 
Bsus2   Bm      | G/B   E7/B | 
Did he steal his fate or earn it? 
Esus4   E+5     | E5    E6 | 
Was he force-fed, did he learn it? 
C       | C     | B5 | B5 || 
Whatever happened to his precious self-control? 

(Same chords as verse 1) 
Like him, I'm tired of try'n' to heal 
This tom-cat heart with which I'm blessed. 
Is destruction loving's twin? 
Must I choose to lose or win? 
C       | C     | B5 | E5 | E5 || 
Maybe when my turn comes I will have guessed. 

Verse 2: 

A9      | A/G# | 
These are the horns of the dilemma, 
A       | A/G# | 
What truth this proof against all lies? 
B/A     Asus2   | Am F/A | 
When sacred fails before profane, 
D       Csus2   | A5    Go | 
The wisest man is deemed insane. 
C5      | C     | E5 | E5 || 
Even the purest of romantics compromise. 


C#m     | C#m   | 
What fixation feeds this fever? 
C#m     | C#m   | 
As the full moon pales and climbs? 
C#m     F#m     | C#m   A | 
Am I living truth or rank deceiver? 
C#m     F#m     | C#m   A | 
Am I the victim or the crime? 
C#m     F#m     | C#m   A | 
Am I the victim or the crime? 
C#m     F#m     | C#m   ||                   E5    B5 
Am I the victim or the crime, or the crime? 

Instrumental over Verse 1
(Same chords as verse 2 here) 
And so I wrestle with the angel 
To see who'll reap the seeds I sow. 
Am I the driver or the driven? 
Will I be damned to be forgiven? 
Is there anybody here but me who needs to know? 

(Chorus chords) 
What it is that feeds this fever? 
As the full moon pales and climbs? 
Am I living truth or rank deceiver? 
Am I the victim or the crime? 
Am I the victim or the crime? 
Am I the victim or the crime, or the crime? (repeat & fade, then…) 

E5, then Jam on B5 (with main riff theme over it) 

Verse 1 walk-up, then end on B5 and jam on it 

Verse 1 walk-up, then end on B5 and jam on it, and outro out of song.  You can also go to an E after the B5 and outro out of an E instead. 


Main Riff (B D F# F C#)                          B5: 

E ---------------|     E -------2-1-----|      e --2-- 
B -------7-6-----|     B -----3-----2---|      B --2-- 
G -----7-----6---|     G ---4-----------|      G --4-- 
D ---9-----------| or  D ---------------|      D --4-- 
A ---------------|     A ---------------|      A --2-- 
E ---------------|     E ---------------|      E ----- 

VERSE 1 walk-up: 

     Bsus2   Bm      G/B     E7/B 
E ---2-------2-------2-------4------- 
B ---2-------3-------2-------3------- 
G ---4-------4-------3-------4------- 
D ---2-------4----------------------- 
A ---2-------2----------------------- 
E ----------------------------------- 

     Esus4   E+5     E5      E6     C 
E ---5-------6-------7-------9------8------- 
B ---5-------5-------5-------x------8------- 
G ---4-------4-------4-------9------9------- 
D ---------------------------9------10------ 
A ------------------------------------------ 
E ------------------------------------------ 

VERSE 2: (A9 with riff) 
     d   d u   d   d u    
E ---5---5-5---5---5-5--------5------------- 
B ---5---5-5---5---5-5--------5------5------ 
G ---6---0-0---6---0-0--------6--7-8---6---- 
D ---x---x-x---x---x-x--------x------------- 
A ---7---7-7---7---7-7--------7------------- 
E ------------------------------------------ 
     And so I...angels 

Strum the whole chord if you can, while not *quite* hammering on the C# note on the G string, more off/on/off/on type feel (down-strum the chord w/ the C# once, then the down and up-strum the other chord), but pick the notes in bold (which didn't show up here....I'm speaking of the 7,8,5,6 lick there at the end) when the line is finished being sung.  The video below shows that Bob isn’t using his pinkie to fret the A note on the D-string, as you typically would, because he is using it to play the notes in bold (above) on the G-string. 

VERSE 2 walk-up: 

    B/A    Asus2    Am      F/A 
E ------------------12--------------- 
B ---12------10-----13-------9------- 
G ----9-------9-----14-------9------- 
D ---11------12-----14-------9------- 
A ------------------12------11------- 
E ----------------------------------- 

      D     Csus2     A5      Go     C5      E5 
E ---10---------------12-------------15-------7----- 
B ---10------13-------12-------------15-------7----- 
G ---11------12-------14------15-----17-------9----- 
D ---12------15-------14------17-----17-------9----- 
A --------------------12------16-----15-------7----- 
E ----------------------------15-------------------- 

This video shows some voicings, kind of: 

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt21ldqkLNg 

CHORUS: at the beginning, he kind of bounces on that first C#m a few times, then moves the pinkie up to the E at the end of the “bop” that he is doing.  I don’t think the chords that were given in the tab above are perfect, per se, but on the video, this sounds like what Bob is playing, especially for the 2nd half of the chorus.  I think it’s just a C#m with an added F#, whatever that makes. 

  C#m(add9) C#m                C#m  C#m(add9)  C#m  A 
E ---11----12---------------|----9----11---12---11------------- 
B ----9-----9---------------|----9-----9----9---10------------- 
G ----9-----9---------------|----9-----9----9----9------------- 
D ---11----11---------------|---11----11---11---11------------- 
A --------------------------|---------------------------------- 
E --------------------------|---------------------------------- 

Jerry’s riff over chorus: 

The riff he does while Bob goes off on the “Am I the Victim or the Crime” part.  He does 2, this is the 2nd one, very staccato, with one silent beat in between the first 2 spaces, and 2 quick beats in between the last space.  I put a “1” above where the 1 silent beat is and a “2” above the 2 beats, with a slight hesitation (the ½) in between where the D# & E is on the D string on the 13th & 14th fret, I only put a space there for tab purposes.  Feel it out. 

        1        1        2       ½ 
E ---------------------------------------------------- 
B ---------------------------------------------------- 
G ---------------------------------------------------- 
D ---11---111213---121311---111213-141312------------- 
A ---------------------------------------------------- 
E ----------------------------------------------------

Main Bass Riff: (as tabbed by maximinus on rukind)

Last edited by shakedown_04092 on Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

 #35098  by bucketorain
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:12 pm
well, this is interesting...there are, i'm sure many songs that we don't like that the dead did, some say truckin, personaly, when i hear TenJed, I would usually head to take a leak..lol. except, when it was done at Giants in 89. that show ripped.

victim, the first time i heard it in 89, i didn't get it so much, then it hit me for some reason. i started to dig on it and really listened to the music and what they were doing with that song...

i would have to say it is one of their most complex songs arranged...

 #35102  by jackr
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:11 pm
I heard Jerry on an interview once talking about this song. He didnt like it at first and I am not sure he ever really got to love it. It said it was too structured and you really have to know the song. He liked the more freely flowing tunes.

 #35104  by strumminsix
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:14 pm
strumminsix wrote:I never dug it and have never even been inspired or bored enough to play it.
oh how things change! huh Nick???

Ratdog acoustic.

 #35108  by Chuckles
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:24 pm

Jerry Garcia, interviewed by Bonnie Simmons 9/28/89 for "Built to Last" promotional disc:

JG: I think the first time Weir showed it ["Victim or the Crime"] to me was when we played with Joan Baez at an AIDS thing in the city, and he -- I listened in amazement and said "God, that's got pretty angular changes, doesn't it?" It's fascinating because it defies, almost, any effort to play freely through it. You have to know it; it's that simple. It has changes in it, and they're very strict, and they have lots of real dissonant moments. So the angularity of it was fascinating to me, the tonality was, because it's one of those things where you really have to stretch to figure out something appropriate to play to add to the tonal mood of the tune.

The text of it -- I don't believe I've ever actually listened to all the words to it. Ever. I have the gist of it; by now I probably could recite it if I really had to, but the text of it is more of the same in a way, it doesn't have a whole lot of light in it. It's very dense, and it's angstridden to boot. So it seemed to me when we were starting to record it, in order to save it from an effort to make it more attractive, I thought that what would work with the song would be to just go with it, to go with the angularity and the sort of asymmetrical way it's structured, and play to expose that. An early possibility that occurred to me was that this would be an interesting song to do something really strange with. And this is where of course Mickey comes into the picture, 'cause he's one of the guys that holds down the strangeness corner and he's always a willing accomplice in these ideas. So I thought the Beam, which is an instrument that people feel about about the way they feel about Victim or the Crime, the tune -- I thought, let's take two of the things that really have a huge potential for really upsetting people --

BS: A polarization tool.

JG: Absolutely -- and let's combine them in a happy marriage, something that will be a real horror show. And it's turned out to be strangely beautiful. I really enjoy it, now. When me and Mickey started working on it, I'd be sitting there listening and say "You know, I may be going crazy, but I'm starting to like this..."

BS: I am too. Initially I thought it was one of the oddest things I had ever imagined.

JG: Well, it certainly is strange. It's one of Weir's stunningly odd compositions, but it's also very adventurous. It's uncompromising; it's what it is, and the challenge of coming up with stuff to play that sounds intelligent in the context has been incredible, but also appropriately gnarly. I really wanted that part of it to work. I think we did a nice job on the record with it. It works. Whatever it is, it works. I'm real happy with it because it was one of those things that was like, "What are we going to do with this?" It's like having a monster brother that you lock in the attic. It's like a relative that you -- "God, I hope nobody comes over when he's eating...." But that's one of the things that makes the Grateful Dead fun.

We've got a handle on it, I think, now, and there's also places for us to take it. I think it may open up into something truly monstrous. It may turn into something truly monstrous in the future, and certainly the recorded version works.
 #35111  by kenneybonz
 Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:47 pm
it is eery and it was a good hook for the album it was on ( to me ) and i always thought it beat the crap out of the whole screaming thing...
i dug the eery factor.. a lot like gentleman start your engines was to me
anyway, my paltry two cents.. and hey thanks for the posted interviews and music..
always great stuff on this site.. tom