The Buchla ‘Red Panel’ LSD Legend Was True

Apparently, the Buchla ‘Red Panel’ LSD legend was true.

In 1966, Stewart Brand organized the San Francisco Trips Festival – an event that featured electronic music, light shows and psychedelics.

Synth pioneer Don Buchla‘s instruments were grew out of the West Coast counterculture movement of the 1960’s – when electronic music, light shows and psychedelic drugs were intertwined.

Buchla was associated with events like Stewart Brand‘s San Francisco Trips Festival, which described the TRIP, or electronic performance, as a “new medium of communication & entertainment.”

“I just showed up at the places with my instruments, took some acid, played some music,” said Buchla.

Since then, there’s been a legend about a Buchla ‘Red Panel’ module, which was covered with LSD, leading to mind-expanding synth experiences.

KPIX CBS SF Bay Area reports that the stories were true. Their Broadcast Operations Manager Eliot Curtis took an unexpected trip recently, while repairing a vintage Buchla modular synthesizer.

“It felt like I was tripping on LSD,” notes Curtis. In fact, Curtis was tripping on LSD.

“When working on a standard clean and restore project, you don’t expect to accidentally get super high on 50-year-old LSD. But that’s exactly what happened for one repairman working on a vintage Buchla Model 100 modular synthesiser.

Eliot Curtis was recently given the job of restoring the vintage synth, which had been stored in a dark room at Cal State University East Bay since the 1960s. But after cracking off the front of the unit to give it a clean, he began to majorly trip out.

After opening the Buchla, Curtis discovered a crystal-like substance that he attempted to clean off. Spraying it with a cleaning solvent, he then tried to dislodge it with his fingers. Then, around 45 minutes later, the fun really started. His body began to tingle, which then quickly dissolved into an epic nine-hour acid trip.

After testing, it was discovered that the substance was indeed vintage LSD. A researcher also revealed that LSD can lay dormant and potent if stored in a cool, dark place, and that it is possible to ingest it through the skin. So apparently Buchla synthesisers make the perfect storage for your psychedelics. Who knew?

The synth has since been thoroughly cleaned of all LSD and is back on track for its restoration.”

The legend lives on – without the LSD – in Buchla’s new ‘Red Panel’ line of Eurorack modules, introduced at the 2019 NAMM Show:

37 thoughts on “The Buchla ‘Red Panel’ LSD Legend Was True

  1. LOL, video removed by user. I wish psychedelics were not taboo. It is our right to be able to tweak our own conciousness. Government overreach is disgusting.

  2. about as believable as those “i found a mint tr-808 in original packaging for $5 at a garage sale” tales

    1. Those stories can be true. Im 36. Ive had LOTS of those incidents. My first drum machine was a TR707 I got for $20 and when it got stolen I replaced it with a TR505 I got in a thrift shop in Nowhere Texas off the 10 for $5. Ive owned two Poly61’s. One was free because “it was a piece of shit” and the other I payed $20 for at Music Go Round in 1998 or 99…something like that. Ive never payed more than $50 for a Matsumoku guitar because of yard sales. Ive never payed for an SK1….had a few of them. I have a friend that has a junked REAL 303. Completely trashed from water damage. He got it at a yard sale for $20 and gets offers on it all the time. Theres truth in those stories from the right age group sometimes…

      1. i’m 43 and have never ever had any such incident, and neither have my peers some of whom own what can only be described as entire synth museums and have been collecting for 20 years or more. across the US and Europe. i don’t know what’s at the origin of those stories, but i guess it’s capitalism Stockholm syndrome.

        1. I’m 46. In the mid 90’s I bought an original Prophet 6 for $150, an MC-202 for $50, and I was given a Roland Jupiter 8. YMMV.

  3. I find it hard to believe someone would go to work restoring a Buchla without first researching buchlas and thereby learning the red panel legend.

  4. LSD cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be absorbed through the skin. Let’s kill this urban legend. He must have put his fingers in his mouth or gotten the substance in a cut.

    1. Albert Hoffman, who discovered the hallucinogenic effects of LSD, said he made the discovery through an accidental micro-dose through the skin. Others have said that this is unlikely, that he must have accidentally touched his mouth or eyes to absorb it.

      There’s no doubt, though, that LSD in solvent could get absorbed through the skin – which is what happened here. I checked the CDC site, and they say that solvents pose a significant risk of being absorbed through the skin.

        1. Scientist accidentally trips balls in the lab, discovers LSD.

          Some other dude argues that the trip was bogus, thinks that explains everything, is waiting for the big high fives.

          Congratulations on discovering the worst conspiracy theory ever.

          1. first up it’s Hofmann not Hoffmann. and he ingested the drug, not merely touch it. Rajah is correct. i don’t get why in 2019 people still make up drug stories when we now have decades of experience and knowledge. grow up.

    2. lol, Urban Legend, bullshit, do some research, i am skeptical about the Story but LSD can indeed absorbed,
      i repeat indeed absorbed over the Skin.

      1. I’ve don’t a significant amount of research. There is ZERO data showing that it can be absorbed through the skin. So please, blow my mind smarty pants.

        1. There’s ZERO research demonstrating that it can’t be absorbed like this.

          Because the drug war effectively killed LSD research for the last 50 years.

          Real CDC science backs up this guys story, though:

          “Studies show that absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being noticed by the worker, and in some cases, may represent the most significant exposure pathway. Many commonly used chemicals in the workplace could potentially result in systemic toxicity if they penetrate through the skin (i.e. pesticides, organic solvents). These chemicals enter the blood stream and cause health problems away from the site of entry.”

          In other words, if you use solvents to dissolve LSD, and you aren’t wearing gloves, you’re going to be tripping balls all day.

          1. come to Europe and do your own research. LSD is widely and easily available. i dare you to touch a sheet of plotter. nothing will happen. this is ridiculous. it’s like someone from a country where drinking is banned claims you can get drunk by looking at a can of beer.

        2. dude.. ? liquidized LSD can be absorbed through skin.. most of people put it in their eye when applying it from a vile but it can be absorbed through skin as well.

          1. “most people put it in their eye when applying it from a vile (vial, i presume?)”.
            most people shove wine bottles up their ass and clench their butt cheeks to get drunk.
            if i ever see anyone do drops anywhere else but their tounge i’m gonna take that vial and make sure they won’t be touching it for at least a week. such moronic stories result in waste of good drugs my dude.

            1. If it can’t be absorbed through your skin, then how exactly would placing it on the skin of your tongue work?

              Personally, I always swallowed it. Or, I mean, I would have had I done it. I also, had I tried it, would have probably preferred dosed sugarcubes or pez to sticking a piece of paper in my mouth.

              1. because mucous membrane has a totally different structure compared to callouses on fingers? some might penetrate but it would just be totally inefficient.
                sugar cubes or pez, or mints, are totally fine. so i heard. but pieces of blotter are fine, too, especially swallowed with water. so, if one wanted to do that, one could dilute the paper in the water. or dowse the entire vial. many methods, and – so my research associates report – they all mix well with modular synths.
                finally, i have to say, red panel method seems, like a lot of Buchla solutions, over elaborate and convoluted, with a little bit of contempt for the users mixed in.

      1. what is more likely?
        a) you have wet fingers and dont dry them while having a screwdriver or whatever in your hand
        b) you touched your face unknowingly

        1. c) you’ve come up with a publicity stunt and skimped on the details because people will believe anything either way

  5. its doubtful it happened like this
    he probably touched his face (mouth/eyes/nose) with his fingers.
    these are such trivial things you dont realize you did that.

  6. I am like 90% sure I’ve heard Morton Subotnik verify this previously on video. Either in I Dream of Wires or for the trailer to his Kickstarter doc. He’s visiting a 60’s era Buchla at an all women’s college and asks the woman point blank if the LSD has been removed.

  7. How big of a thing was LSD in the West Coast electronic music scene in the 60’s and 70’s?

    It seems like there was some epic debauchery going on, but also that people looked on it as sort of an intellectual pursuit.

    I’d be interested in perspectives from people who were there. Were audiences and performers alike tripping in those days?

  8. If you touch the blue panel, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

  9. did everybody miss the 2nd laugher in the story?
    dude, says I felt like I was tripping on LSD
    if he had never taken LSD before he wouldn’t have known what it feels like ?

  10. hahahaaaaaaa far out man!!! That must have been fun, but he must have been worried as to what was happening to him. Amazing. Even after 50 years!?!!?

  11. Sad to see some people crying “fake news” about this story. The dude worked for the TV station, he’d lose his job for coming up with a story like this if it turned out to be fake. They did three lab tests that confirmed the presence of LSD. They had credible individuals associated with Buchla himself in the video. But some people just have to turn everything into a vast conspiracy theory… probably so they can score cool points re: esoteric knowlege of drugs they have probably never even used.

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