Candor: Mike Evans of Sex, Drugs, Clinton
Written by William S. Gooch
Credit: Lia Levita
Patient: Mike Evans
Age: Early 40’s
Race and gender: White male
Socio-economic background: Middle-class, suburban-reared
Employment: Clinton Administration from 1992-1993
Life challenges: Former homeless heroin
and crack addict
Like this patient profile, at
first glance Mike Evans is the prototype of the
successful, white, middle-class male. It is hard
to believe that this poster child for middle-class
values was once a drug-addicted inmate at Ryker’s
Island. In Sex, Drugs, Clinton & Me,
Evans talks about his fall from grace and how a
combined potion of politics and drugs spiraled him
into a world of addiction, crime, and homelessness.
Now walking in the sunshine of self-discovery, Evans
weaves his circuitous tale of self-negation, destitution,
S. Gooch: Where were you born and what was your
Mike Evans: I was
born in a Brady Bunch–like suburb of Richmond,
My childhood in some ways was very idyllic, lots
of playing in the woods, lots of activities with
childhood friends, typical 60s suburban lifestyle.
William S. Gooch: What kind
of relationship did you have with your dad?
Mike Evans: We had
a very emotionally and physically abusive relationship
when I was young.
William S. Gooch: Where
did you attend college?
Mike Evans: I attended
Reynolds College and majored in engineering.
William S. Gooch: What jobs
did you have prior to being involved in politics?
I did computer sales through most of my twenties
and my territory was from Maine to Florida. I set
up wholesale distribution accounts for that territory
and also trained sales representatives how to market
the product from the distributor to consumers.
William S. Gooch: In your one-man
show, Sex, Drugs, Clinton & Me, you
stated that the first political campaign you worked
on was for George H.W. Bush in 1988, how did that
I didn’t really work on George H.W.
Bush’s campaign; I worked on his inauguration.
A friend of mine told me about the job and even
though at the time I was a staunch Democrat, I rationalized
that I was working for the office of the President
and not a particular party.
William S. Gooch: Most young
people are very idealistic when they first get involved
in grassroots politics, did your idealism wane over
Mike Evans: Over
time I learned that American politics has many well-meaning
people that really want change; however, the system
is designed to preserve the status quo. Once people
get embedded in the system it really becomes about
maintaining their power base. I believe now that
the way I facilitate change is through example evidenced
in my own self-transformation.
William S. Gooch: I gathered
from your performance piece that as a young man,
you really didn’t play by the rules, so to
speak. What motivated this lack of respect for rules
Mike Evans: As a
young man I was a very self-absorbed person. Since
I have been off drugs, I have tried to work through
my issues around self-absorption and selfishness
with therapy and some 12-step programs.
William Gooch: How long
did you work in the Clinton Administration?
Mike Evans: I actually
moved to the Clinton campaign after trying to get
Mario Cuomo nominated at the Democratic National
Convention. So I was actually involved with Clinton’s
campaign and administration for about two years.
William Gooch: What was
your drug use while working for the Clintons?
Mike Evans: During
my time working for the Clinton campaign and administration,
I mostly smoked pot. I also took Percocet and narcotic
painkillers for back pain. I didn’t start
using heroin until 1994 when I was no longer with
the Clinton administration.
William Gooch: In the show
you talk about how being around strong political
figures feed your need for power. Did your drug
use in any way inform your need for power?
Mike Evans: Power
did give me a rush. I used the drugs and the politics
to take me outside of myself. Even though I was
sincerely looking to create change, I still wanted
approval from these powerful political figures.
I thought that if I could get the approval of these
powerful people somehow that would translate into
approval from my dad.
William Gooch: You seem
to be at peace with yourself now, what is the overall
message of Sex, Drugs, Clinton & Me?
Mike Evans: From
reading the book Easier Now, I began to
understand that if I am happier now or in the future
the only thing that has changed is what is in my
mind. I learned that I am responsible for my own
happiness. I sought happiness in sex, drugs and
political power but those things didn’t satisfy
me. So I hope people who come to the Sex, Drugs,
Clinton & Me will begin to look inside,
not externally, for happiness.
William Gooch: What is next
for Mike Evans?
Mike Evans: HBO has
expressed some interest in developing Sex, Drugs,
Clinton & Me into a docudrama. I will also
be touring Sex, Drugs, Clinton & Me.
And lastly, the book Sex, Drugs, Clinton &
Me should be coming out soon.
William Gooch: This was
a thought-provoking interview Mike. Thank you so
much for your time.
Mike Evans: Thank
Mike Evans has appeared in six
Hollywood films including a major role with Oscar
nominee Robert Downey Jr. in the political documentary
The Last Party.
Performances of Sex,
Drugs, Clinton & Me are every Tuesday at
the Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street, through
November 25. Showtime is 8:00 pm.