Grateful Dead: Victim or the Crime Jam (1989-1991)

This mix presents an hour of vocal-free “Victim or the Crime” jams. 

I want to call “Victim” the Dead’s “Sister Ray” – a chugging, ecstatic, downer groove that pounds, drones, gets quiet, freaks out, dissolves, reforms, etc. Stringing 10 performances together does the same thing on a larger scale.

Resistance is futile. PLAY IT LOUD.

53-minute mp3 mix here

The sequence:

  • 1991-09-25
  • 1990-07-12
  • 1991-09-13
  • 1991-06-19
  • 1991-03-21
  • 1990-02-27
  • 1990-07-04
  • 1990-05-06
  • 1990-04-01
  • 1989-12-31

Note on selections:

I asked twitter for suggestions of good versions, and the responses mostly guided this mix, augmented with some poking around of my own. The mix doesn’t reflect a comprehensive review of all versions from the period covered. The date range bridges the 1990 keyboard player changeover without diverging in character very much. I’m also a fan of the 1993-1994 approach, which is quite different.

14 responses
What's the pic from?
I’ve always been a fan of VOTC because the dead could really take it to some dark, gritty spaces that no other tune would go to. Nobody else ever seemed to share my enthusiasm. Looking forward to this. Great work, as always!
Mr. Hilgart, just this week, I made myself a mix: all my (uncut) versions of VOTC. The folder says I created it on 11/22, the day after you released this mix...but I swear I didn't know yet! So this is SO weird for me, because it is such an obscure song...makes this coincidence very bizarre. But of your list here, I only had 3-21-91 and 9-25-91. So this is like a treasure trove for me. Also, your project cuts right to the jams! I love this dark song. From the first time I heard it, the main riff of Victim sounded like the crowing of a mutated rooster. With six eyes perhaps. I was in the middle of answering a bunch of crappy emails, when I found this email about the new Save Your Face, and I totally bugged out. In my mind, the rooster's mutant head popped up and crowed at me. A whole bunch more "Victims" for me. Super creepy. YES!!! The lyrics are better than people want to admit. A lot of people ran from it, citing the line about "the junkie"...but I think what actually scared them off was questioning their own morality--the lyrics make you do that, if you listen. Still, I don't need to hear the lyrics so many times--I just want to explore the next disturbing vortex of sound. Well done!!! I would love to hear someday a mix of the "different approach" you mentioned for '93-'94. I've never heard any of those versions! Save Your Face rocks.
This is why I love this site. You come up with concepts that I would have never even have considered. Bring it on!
It turns out there are also later versions of Victim or the Crime--'93-'94 versions, such as a great one from 9-16-1994--that can be found here on Save Your Face, if you poke around. Lately I keep finding that Vince Welnick did some amazing work, especially instrumentally. For someone like me, I did go through a period of being shocked and disappointed pretty much WHENEVER I noticed that it isn't Brent. But would I advise just getting over that, and making room in your head for yet another kind of Dead, because Vince's work is damn cool. Especially on Victim--what a strange song. His keys add all kinds of sounds and textures.
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