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The Original Buddha Tape Mystery


Ry-Bread
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As a blink-182 collector, one of the most sought after items you can own is an original "Buddha" cassette tape. They recorded this in January 1994 at Doubletime Studios and released it through a friend's label "Filter Records". The original run is thought to be around 1,000 tapes, which Mark and friends put together by hand as seen in Anne's book:

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These tapes are black with white text, and look like this:

sWGaSXz.jpg

 

If the story were to stop here, all would be fine. However, throughout the years 3 more "variants" have appeared which are as follows:

1. Black Tape with Blue Lettering

izBgF77.jpg

2. Red Tape

2PfshUZ.jpg

3. White Sticker Tape

exo8S1C.jpg

 

The question many have asked through the years, and rightfully so is: "Are these real?!" None of these pop up for sale very often, and are usually very pricey. If you are forking out that much money, it'd be nice to know what is real vs. fake, right? This question has been around among blink collectors for years, and no one seems to know. This has peaked my curiosity and I decided to reach out to everyone I could, along with documenting it here along the way so that people can hopefully some day stumble across this thread and get an answer or at minimum - have all the info nicely presented in one place.

If you look at Discogs you will get this answer: "There is only one authentic version of the cassette: black with white printing. All other "variants" are FAKE." ( @daveyjones has always said this as well, and this may have been his entry there.) Most collectors agree that the black with white lettering is definitely the "First Run", so this makes sense. What happened next did not. Awhile back we had a new user "Chuck" come through who swore Mark personally gave him the RED TAPE in August of 1994. The fonts matched exactly, and his story checked out. Thus Davey, Boxelder, myself, etc. were confident that a "red tape" could indeed be a legit variation. The BLUE TAPE has identical fonts as well and looked legit which led to more questions... So, who better to ask than Mark Hoppus? Here is his reply:

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The interesting takeaway here is that he specifically recalls:

1. Pressing them in batches
2. Changing the ink color
3. Changing the cassette color

It was obviously great to get an answer from Mark, but questions still remained. This still didn't give us an answer on the "White Sticker" version, and I wanted more info. So, I began reaching out to those close to the band at that time and wanted to document official statements for the history books. Here are some of the responses I have received:

*We asked Mark specifically about the "White Sticker" version, and he could not recall.
*Tom DeLonge nor Kari DeLonge could recall
*Dylan Anderson (Mark/Tom's childhood friend) only recalls the black with white text original
*Kerry Key does not recall any "white tape version"
*Cam Jones said "The first run were all black. I do not recall additional runs." Upon showing him all 4 variants, he said "The only authentic release is the black with white lettering." 

While amazing to get this info (and I'm still awaiting replies and trying to reach out to anyone I can, this is an ongoing "mystery project" for me), questions STILL remain. It would be easy to say the first run with the black/white lettering are the only real ones, but this does not explain Mark's specific recollection of different ink/variations? 

Not to mention, there appear to be 3 J-card variations:

C8YbvC7.jpg

In regards to fakes, it's really odd to me that someone would "fake" them and drastically change the lettering, or add a huge white sticker, etc.? Fakes are typically meant to mimic the original as close as possible. I have documented examples of the "White Sticker" version signed in 1999, so these aren't particularly new. There also wasn't a huge "blink collectible" market at that time, so it's odd to me that someone would try and mimic an old tape that was ~$70 at most? They would've been better off faking signed EOTS cds with far less work.

So this begs the question, what is real?! Could it be that the "black and white text" first run of 1k sold out, and Mark recalled getting additional color variations to make more copies? (Which lines up with Chuck receiving his in August 1994) At this point I have some confidence in the BLUE LETTER and RED TAPE versions, I have discussed this with Davey recently and we both think the WHITE STICKER version is likely fake. (I actually bought one knowing this and will have it in hand soon just to examine it properly and hopefully provide some more information.)

Anyway, this will be a running thing and needed it's own thread IMO as I've been diving all over the internet trying to gather bits and pieces for my research. For anyone who has one, stumbles across this, or is interested - any info/pix are greatly appreciated! Also, I would be interested in buying any variations you may have.

 

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my own thought is that blank tapes (no lettering) are for sure fake. and that the white sticker label version is also fake, as the lettering does not even match the other tapes.

however, the lettering on the red tape is identical to the black/clear one.

my own buddha tape is black/clear with white lettering. original insert. original J-card, blurry full color kerry key performance photo version.

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@daveyjones I know you have shared your pix before, but if you could add pix of yours here along with info on when you got it that would be beneficial and appreciated for historical purposes in what I hope is a long lasting thread for Buddha info seekers.

And yes I forgot to mention there is also a “blank tape” variation that some claim is the very first run of /100...haven’t been able to find much on that and would agree that is likely fake IMO.

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50 minutes ago, Ry-Bread said:

@daveyjones I know you have shared your pix before, but if you could add pix of yours here along with info

sure. here is my insert (quality downsampled to prevent bootlegging):

buddha-insert.jpg

my tape:

buddha-tape-01.jpg

me holding my tape:

buddha-tape-02.jpg

standing up:

buddha-tape-03.jpg

actual pic on scanner glass, SIDE 1:

buddha-cassette-tape-01.jpg

actual pic on scanner glass, SIDE 2:
buddha-cassette-tape-02.jpg

the original insert was xeroxed on a lavender colored paper. letter sized, double sided. the fakes of this are easy to spot as they are either on the wrong color paper and you can see it was a copy of a copy because there is an edge visible on all sides. have a look at stan182's, which is a well-known fake. see that it's black and white and note the edge all around, which is a result of the purple paper showing gray in the copy and copiers not being able to print full bleed:

3131608_orig.jpg

this one is real (mine):

buddha-lyrics.jpg

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@daveyjones I think it's cool you had the forethought to keep all this stuff but I'd be lying if I said understood it. How big was blink at the time when you became a fan, did you know they were gonna be massive? It's crazy you still have all these old things from those days. I knew and were friends with bands growing up that were huge in San Antonio and Austin and I had demos and shirts and pictures at one time but I never ended up keeping any of it. Even if any of those bands would have hit it big I wouldn't have had any of that stuff when it happened. It's just crazy that, almost 30 years on you still do.

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28 minutes ago, He Is Risen said:

How big was blink at the time when you became a fan, did you know they were gonna be massive?

i first saw blink in 1995. right around the time of the name change but before it was official. the cheshire cat i bought at that show is pre-182.

they were a small local band. not even headlining small clubs yet. had not yet played outside of california besides maybe a date in nevada or arizona.

they were a very important part of my life from 95 to 98 when scott left. i saw them rise and get bigger, slowly. no, i did not foresee them getting huge. i kept this stuff not because they "got famous" in 1999, but because it's personally important to me rather than  important as a music fan. that's why i do not call myself a "collector" of blink stuff. i just have the stuff from that era because that was my life.

blink from enema on is just another random pop punk band whose albums i buy and sometimes listen to. blink from the time i first saw them until scott left... it's no different than keeping my yearbooks and letters and notes from old GFs in a box. that shit was my life.

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1 minute ago, daveyjones said:

i first saw blink in 1995. right around the time of the name change but before it was official. the cheshire cat i bought at that show is pre-182.

they were a small local band. not even headlining small clubs yet. had not yet played outside of california besides maybe a date in nevada or arizona.

they were a very important part of my life from 95 to 98 when scott left. i saw them rise and get bigger, slowly. no, i did not foresee them getting huge. i kept this stuff not because they "got famous" in 1999, but because it's personally important to me rather than  important as a music fan. that's why i do not call myself a "collector" of blink stuff. i just have the stuff from that era because that was my life.

blink from enema on is just another random pop punk band whose albums i buy and sometimes listen to. blink from the time i first saw them until scott left... it's no different than keeping my yearbooks and letters and notes from old GFs in a box. that shit was my life.

Fair enough. Maybe I'm just broken... or probably autistic. I never had those kinds of attachments or sentiments and was always ready and willing to drop life at a moments notice and that meant never really having any real value in anything. Pretty rad you have that, honestly. 

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30 minutes ago, He Is Risen said:

I never had those kinds of attachments or sentiments and was always ready and willing to drop life at a moments notice and that meant never really having any real value in anything.

i'm not a packrat by any stretch. but i AM a keeper of mementos. there isn't a bare patch of wall in my entire house that doesn't have some kind of visual memory hung up. one such wall:

revised-blink-wall.jpg

blink-collage.jpg

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the sticker one seems unusual yes, but i wouldn’t be surprised if it were real. as someone who has printed my own comics and sold them at shows, i know that each version is probably a little different (some have silver staples, some have gold, etc). so mark’s answer doesn’t surprise me — i’m sure there’s more of the original floating around, but those alternate color cassettes definitely seem real.

another thing i don’t believe anyone has mentioned is that pat secor continued to profit off buddha until like 96/97 i believe. i’m not sure if he was the one personally pressing the tapes (which could explain a different variant, even the sticker one). but as far as i could observe when making the timeline, it seems like buddha fell off the band’s radar post-CC, and they eventually became annoyed at secor, which led to them suing him with joe from the vandals. then blink re-released an updated (and louder!) buddha on CD through the vandals’ label, kung-fu, in ‘98.

my point in all of this is to say that if buddha were being consistently sold for three years, there’s no question there are plenty of variants. and as @Ry-Breadpointed out, there wasn’t much reason to profit off a random san diego punk band until after EOTS, and some of these date to before it.

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4 hours ago, boxelder said:

another thing i don’t believe anyone has mentioned is that pat secor continued to profit off buddha until like 96/97 i believe. i’m not sure if he was the one personally pressing the tapes (which could explain a different variant, even the sticker one).

a counter to that is i got my tape from pat in the early spring of 1997. and the one he mailed me is an "original" first run black/clear tape with blurry kerry key photo J-card.

i also feel that "profit off buddha" is a mischaracterization. pat sold me the tape for $5, the same it sold at shows. he also sent me a t-shirt and several stickers. so he actually lost money on the deal.

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3 hours ago, daveyjones said:

a counter to that is i got my tape from pat in the early spring of 1997. and the one he mailed me is an "original" first run black/clear tape with blurry kerry key photo J-card.

i also feel that "profit off buddha" is a mischaracterization. pat sold me the tape for $5, the same it sold at shows. he also sent me a t-shirt and several stickers. so he actually lost money on the deal.

agree — poor choice of words. it’s clear all things considered pat should’ve received more credit 

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I have one thought about the J-cards as it relates to fakes. That picture of Tom, Mark, Scott is from when Buddha was re-released on CD (with 182 and different tracks). I'm pretty sure there are cassette versions of the same thing. Is it possible they used that picture because there's no other way to get that blurry one? I would like to see the J-card of a Buddha re release cassette.

Also what years would fakes be sold? I'm guessing like 02-07 when ebay and faster internet took off? I don't know how popular online auctions were in 99/00 when the band initially got huge. 

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2 hours ago, Feeling_This_1 said:

Is it possible they used that picture because there's no other way to get that blurry one?

don't know how popular online auctions were in 99/00 when the band initially got huge. 

the blurry pic is by kerry key; you can still find it on his flickr page.

i love "02-07 when ebay and faster internet took off." HA. none of you kids remember the first dot.com boom? that was 1998–2000. i had cable broadband in 1998. ebay really took off in 1999, pretty much at the same time blink exploded. i downloaded demos of enema on napster.

when i signed up for ebay in 99, this was before paypal existed and you had to go to the post office and get a money order (people would not take personal checks) and then mail it to the person and then they would ship your item. it took like two weeks for a single transaction.

TL;DR ebay used to be as old school as everything else. 

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I have “White Sticker” versions on file signed in 1999, and 2002 - so they were definitely around then.

I’ve been reaching out to folks who have sold them, and came across a guy who said he worked the door at SOMA and was personally given a copy by Mark in 1994. The pix he sent were the “Blue Letter” version, with what looks like a white photocopy of the letter. 
 

I’m beginning to think the first run (black/white) ran out, and they made more (blue letter & red tape) and potentially photo copied the letter to make it easier. But, that doesn’t add up with Davey getting a black/white copy in 1997? (Unless Pat just had a stash)

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4 minutes ago, Ry-Bread said:

came across a guy who said he worked the door at SOMA and was personally given a copy by Mark in 1994. The pix he sent were the “Blue Letter” version, with what looks like a white photocopy of the letter.

i take every story by every person i meet online with a huge grain of salt. plenty of fakes have been peddled by "friend of the band" or "worked at SOMA" or "mark gave me a tape."

in fact, the only reason you could argue that all my stories (or rob's or whoever) are credible is that i've never tried to sell anything.

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