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Unbridled Candor: Mike Evans of Sex, Drugs, Clinton & Me

Written by William S. Gooch

Photo Credit: Lia Levita

Patient Profile

Patient: Mike Evans
Age: Early 40’s
Race and gender: White male
Socio-economic background: Middle-class, suburban-reared
Education: College
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, and enlightenment.

William S. Gooch: Where were you born and what was your childhood like?

Mike Evans: I was born in a Brady Bunch–like suburb of Richmond, Virginia.
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?

Mike Evans: 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 come about?

Mike Evans: 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 time?

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 and order?

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 you.

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.




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