Springboard for Hitler

Anaheims the Shack has become Nuremberg-rally central for OC racists

LA-based Anti-Racist Action got hold of the e-mail and sent out a call to demonstrate, claiming that white supremacists have been showing up "at the Shack . . . for some months and laughing about the lack of opposition."

But on Aug. 19, there was no Nazi show, just a group of about 50 sign-waving anti-Nazi demonstrators, a TV camera crew, and a sizeable fleet of marked and unmarked Anaheim Police cars. There were no Nazis, skinheads, fascists, brownshirts, Klansmen or bigots—though the driver of an SUV sped past, waved an indistinguishable banner and shouted, "White power!"

A sign posted on the Shack's front door read, "Sorry for the inconvenience. The Shack would like everyone to know there is no show of any kind scheduled for Aug. 19, 2001, private or otherwise, and never was. We were not aware, nor can we control, what people put on the Web page." By late afternoon, someone had written on that sign, "The Shack supports Nazis."

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In fact, the Shack was well aware that a White Power show had been scheduled for that day. Anaheim police say they called club management. Anti-racist activists say they did, too. Michael Novick of People Against Racist Terror says he spoke directly with a Shack owner who identified himself as Bob.

"He was real evasive," says Novick. "He said [the Shack's owners] couldn't be racists because he was married to a Mexican woman and his partner was Lebanese. He claimed that the show had been set up without their permission." When Novick asked Bob if the club had ever booked White Power shows, Bob pleaded ignorance, saying he doesn't understand the lyrics to most songs and that the bands he books are simply popular with the kids.

Until it was canceled, the Aug. 19 White Power fund-raiser was also all over racist websites. A July 29 posting on supremacist Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance website said Shack concertgoers should be wary: "Public gatherings are risky both physically and the fact that all such events are infiltrated heavily by Jew law enforcement both local and federal."

(Metzger himself was a special guest at the Shack during a June 24 White Power fest. According to one review of the show, OC-based rockabilly band Youngland dedicated their song "Thank God I'm a White Boy" to Metzger, who "couldn't resist running through the mosh pit with us and knocking into everybody for a few songs." He has also appeared at least one other time at a Shack White Power show).

Despite the calls and publicity, the Shack's denials continued until Sept. 2. Some Shack employees said Terbay and Gibson had often misled them. A freelance technician (who spoke on condition of anonymity) told the Weekly that one of the Shack's owners asked him months ago to work a Sunday White Power show but "didn't explain what the situation was and stuff. He was kind of evasive, but I took it anyway. When the show was going on, I remember a line of people in front of the stage who were Sieg Heiling. There were also KKK guys wearing white shirts with KKK emblems."

Another worker hired by the Shack (who also requested anonymity) was more turned off by the sight of children at the White Power shows. "There were kids, some who looked about 10 years old, up on the stage Sieg Heiling," he recalled. "That really made me cringe."

These days, Terbay and Gibson have dropped the denials. Now they say White Power shows are merely good business and evidence of their commitment to free speech. So why cancel the Aug. 19 show? "A band didn't make it," Terbay says. Or "one of the girls putting the 19th show on was recruiting, and we're not gonna make the Shack a recruiting place." What about the fact that reviews of shows dating back to 1999 suggest recruiting has been a regular feature of the Shack's White Power shows? Hasn't Terbay seen the literature tables inside his club? "Yeah," Terbay says, "I've seen literature there."

If you had to rattle off a list of current OC-area live-music clubs in less than 10 seconds (obvious answers: Chain Reaction, Gypsy Lounge, the Glass House, Din Din at the Bamboo Terrace, Lotus Lounge, Blue Cafe, DiPiazza's, Coach House, the Galaxy Concert Theatre, the Hub, Koo's Art Cafe, House of Blues, Sun Theatre, Tiki Bar, Club Mesa), the Shack probably wouldn't make the cut. It's almost hidden, located just north of the 91 freeway at 1160 Kraemer Blvd. in an unassuming Anaheim neighborhood of small-industry warehouses and business parks. And on its best-publicized nights, the place is alive with the sound of music for people who never quite got over the demise of radio stations KMET and KNAC. Before Terbay and Gibson took over in 1999, local bands played the club; since their takeover, the Shack has acquired a rep for hosting two kinds of bands: C-grade '80s hairspray acts tumbling deep into obscurity (think Bang Tango, LA Guns and Enuff Z'nuff) and campy tribute bands like the Atomic Punks, who specialize in David Lee Roth-era Van Halen.

And now Nazis. Even after the Aug. 19 debacle, even while they planned the Sept. 2 show, Gibson and Terbay denied knowledge of the White Power shows at the Shack. But counterevidence was mounting. Go to the website of West Virginia-based Resistance Records, which bills itself as "The soundtrack for white revolution." (The label is owned by William Pierce, author of the infamously racist novel The Turner Diaries, often regarded as seminal reading for Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh.) On that site, you'll find a review of a June 24 White Power show headlined by Brutal Attack. The review says the show took place "in Orange County, California, the Skinhead capitol [sic] of the world. The event was put on by American Front with the help of Vinland's Viking Security team. Resistance Records, Panzerfaust Records and Vinland Records all were present with merchandise tables set up. White kindred from all over the world came to witness what was possibly the greatest show the U.S. has ever seen."

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