Luling bass player Tony Gullage has played on stages in France, Italy, Spain, Norway and Brazil, even putting in a performance for the Queen of England herself.
“Playing in front of the Queen was a surreal experience,” Gullage said. “There were so many people there from so many different countries and we were treated like royalty.”
And while Gullage is used to jamming on stage with other talented musicians in front of crowds all over the world, his next performance will be his most unusual.
Gullage, who spent six years as a musical director for world-famous playwright and movie star Tyler Perry, has written music and dialogue for a new play, entitled “Did Love Cause Me to Hurt?”
While Gullage is using the play to inform people on the dangers of drug abuse, child abuse and abandonment, he has also cast several parish residents in the production. He hopes that will guide them down a musical path similar to the one he chose long ago.
Gullage grew up the son of a grain elevator worker, and while he said that jobs in industry are a good career choice, he also felt like he was meant for something else.
He began his music career in Gospel, but began getting calls to play blues, funk, R&B and jazz. Because of his talent, Gullage soon ascended the musical ranks, touring with several different bands and performing with the likes of Dr. John and Henry Butler.
In February, Gullage is scheduled to perform in a Quincy Jones production.
In addition, his notoriety landed him the job as a musical director for Tyler Perry, who has made it big with his “Madea” movies.
“I want people to get a chance to experience the things that I have, such as seeing the world and meeting all kinds of different people,” he said. “I refused to follow a certain path and now I couldn’t see living without music.”
Gullage recently got into plays after he was approached by Chicago writer Ahmarie Childs. Childs wrote a play called “Did Love Cause Me to Hurt?” and wanted Gullage to write the music.
“I read the play and turned the job down because I didn’t like it,” he said. “Ahmarie then told me I could re-write it, and I changed everything except for the title pretty much.”
The play now centers around one family’s struggle to deal with the pain of unresolved heartache. Alvin “Pops” Williams is a bitter, yet loving father that has been abandoned by his wife. Tracey is a hurting daughter living with a secret, while Aunt Jessie has been delivered from a drug addiction and knows that the healing power of Jesus is the only thing that can fix all of the family’s problems.
In the center of this is a homeless young man named Emmanuel, who offers comfort to the family throughout the play.
“This is a story of a family dealing with hurt from many different angles,” Gullage said. “Hurt is a repeating thing, and the play shows that the people that are hurt actually continue hurting others.”
In May, Gullage’s play opened in St. John Parish to a packed house. On Sept. 20, the play will be performed at Nicholls State.
Gullage is also working on a soundtrack and novel for the play to give more in-depth information about the characters.
“I love what I am doing,” he said. “I’m happy every day.”