Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shane Evans back from the brink

Shane Evans breaks silence to discuss highs and lows with students

Shane Evans, the former drummer of Collective Soul and a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, is breaking a seven-year silence to warn teens about fame, the consequences of lifestyle choices, and his descent and eventual recovery from drug addiction.

Evans, 42, will address a group of students from Lumpkin County Middle School in Dahlonega on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. Evans’ speech titled, “Rock, Recovery and Redemption” will touch upon the meteoric rise of Collective Soul, his departure from the group, his substance abuse problem and the long road to recovery.

“I've been clean and sober for three years and I'm finally at a point where I can discuss my triumphs and tragedies in public,” Evans said. “So if I am to tell my story, I want to tell it to someone who will listen and learn from my mistakes. I want this to really count.”

Almost two decades ago, Evans was riding high as the drummer for Collective Soul. The Stockbridge-based quintet shot to international fame with their 1994 release “Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid”, and their mega-hit, “Shine.” In the span of seven years, they tallied a total seven #1 radio hits, 19 Top 40 singles, and sold more than 10 million albums and CDs worldwide. Evans says with fame came the spoils of success and lifestyle choices that almost killed him.

“It's nothing short of a miracle that I'm still alive. Drugs robbed me of almost everything including my family, friends, my home, and my dignity,” Evans said. “Through sobriety I've gained all of those things back and more. My life today is blessed and I want to share my experiences to help others.”

Evans said he was dismissed from the group in 2005 because of his excessive drug use. His mother's demise from complications of diabetes, the accidental death of a girlfriend and a pair of DUI arrests pushed him further into despair. Evans said he hit rock bottom while living on the run from police at a run-down motel in Loganville. He says he was two days away from being homeless when he finally made the decision to get clean and sober in August 2009. Weeks after his decision to get sober, Collective Soul was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Evans was on hand to celebrate the honor.

“I still love all of the guys in Collective Soul because they are my brothers and we shared a lot of wonderful and life-changing experiences,” Evans said. “Me getting kicked out of the group was entirely my fault because of my addiction. It’s something I’ve finally come to terms with and must own up to in order to remain sober.”

After completing a yearlong recovery program at Waypoint Center in Dahlonega, Evans became a substance abuse counselor, helping others to overcome their addictions. This year he celebrated three years of sobriety and plays drums in the music choir at The Source Worship Center Church in Canton, Ga.

In January 2013 Evans will be the musical headline at the 22nd annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction hosted by MidAmerica Auctions, and will be featured in Ken Mansfield’s “Rock and a Heart Place”, a book chronicling the spiritual journeys of 20 famous musicians from the rock era.

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