Brent Thomas Bourgeois (born June 16, 1958) is an American rock musician, songwriter, and producer. He was co-leader of the band Bourgeois Tagg with Larry Tagg, and has released several solo albums. His later work has been classified in the genres pop and Contemporary Christian music.
Early career and Bourgeois Tagg
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Bourgeois grew up in New Jersey and Dallas, Texas. He moved with Tagg to California's Bay Area after high school, and in the late 1970s they played in a Sacramento band named Uncle Rainbow, which included members from Texas and other parts of the South.
In 1984, they moved to Sacramento and formed Bourgeois Tagg with guitarist Lyle Workman, drummer Michael Urbano, and keyboardist Scott Moon. Bourgeois played keyboards, Tagg played bass, and both shared lead vocal duties.
The eponymous album Bourgeois Tagg was produced by David J. Holman and spawned two singles. "Mutual Surrender (What a Wonderful World)" performed well, if briefly, at college radio and received some dance/club play, but its follow-up "The Perfect Life" didn't fare as well. Promotional videos were produced for both singles, but received limited play.
In 1987, Bourgeois Tagg recorded Yoyo with esteemed producer Todd Rundgren. When it was released in the autumn of that year, the band had what would prove to be their biggest hit with its first single "I Don't Mind at All," which peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although the single just briefly made the Top 40 in the United States, it was a Top Five hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, and a major hit worldwide. Its success was fueled by an innovative video that received heavy airplay on MTV and other music video outlets. The follow-up single "Waiting for the Worm to Turn" (the first single with a lead vocal by Tagg) failed to chart in the U.S.
Bourgeois Tagg split
Eventually, a schism developed between Bourgeois and his bandmates. Sources give differing reasons for the split, usually citing Bourgeois' recovery from the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and his increasing interest in more literal exploration of Christian and recovery themes in the band's work. All five members of Bourgeois Tagg appear on Todd Rundgren's 1989 album Nearly Human, and it is widely presumed that the band officially broke up during that time; Tagg, Urbano, and Workman toured as part of Rundgren's backing band, which is documented on the 2003 archival release Nearly Human Tour - Japan '90.
Bourgeois signed a solo recording deal with Virgin imprint Charisma Records around that time, and his self-titled album was released in 1990. Five songs on the album where co-produced by rock veteran Danny Kortchmar and five co-produced by David J. Holman. Brent Bourgeois featured guest appearances by Christine McVie and Rick Vito of Fleetwood Mac, and "American Idol"'s Randy Jackson, among others. The track "Can't Feel the Pain" was co-written with former bandmate Lyle Workman, who also plays guitar on that song. The first single "Dare to Fall in Love", in spite of a video that received a moderate amount of play, especially on VH1, became only a minor hit, and the album did not sell well.
1992 saw the release of A Matter of Feel. Virtually ignored by all radio and video outlets, the album fell on deaf ears and sold even less than its predecessor. The track "I'm Down with You" was co-written with Robert Palmer. Bourgeois parted ways with Charisma shortly thereafter.
Foray into Christian music
Although he had never made a secret of his spiritual beliefs, any references to Christianity in his lyrics had been largely metaphorical up to that point; the friction that it caused with the more secular-minded Larry Tagg could be cited as both a positive and negative motivational factor for both of them during the time that they worked together. In 1995 he returned with another solo album, Come Join the Living World (produced by Charlie Peacock)—this time on Reunion Records, a Contemporary Christian label—and a renewed, more literal focus on Christian themes, which he has maintained throughout his career ever since. The album spawned four No. 1 songs on Christian radio.
In the years between 1994-2002, Bourgeois has become more well known in the Contemporary Christian Music world for his songwriting and production work for such acts as Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, 4Him, Anointed, Jaci Velasquez, Michelle Tumes, and Cindy Morgan. He was the vice-president of A&R at Word Records in Nashville from 1997–2001, signing such notable artists as Nicole C. Mullen and Rachael Lampa. Bourgeois is married, has four children and currently resides in Elk Grove, California.
On June 2, 2014, Bourgeois released Don't Look Back, his first album in twenty years. It featured an musicians and artists from Bourgeois' past, including Julian Lennon, Todd Rundgren, Charlie Peacock, Anointed, Rachael Lampa, and all of the members of Bourgeois Tagg.
Brent Bourgeois is now a Professor of Pop Songwriting at University of the Pacific, and a music composer for Facebook.
Bourgeois Tagg alumni
- Larry Tagg released two solo albums, With a Skeleton Crew and Rover.
- Lyle Workman has performed as a session musician ever since the dissolution of Bourgeois Tagg. He worked with the band Jellyfish in the 1990s, found work scoring such films as Jon Favreau's 2001 comedy Made, and the 2005 hit comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin. He has also contributed his talents to the world of video games (2005's Guitar Hero), and has continued to tour with Todd Rundgren.
- Michael Urbano played with the group Smash Mouth from 2000 to 2006.
- Tagg, Workman, Moon and Urbano joined Todd Rundgren for his "Nearly Human" tour, but only Workman, Tagg, and Urbano have appeared on subsequent tours.
- Ironically, all five members of Bourgeois Tagg appeared on With a Skeleton Crew, with all but Scott Moon playing on the track "1/2 Yes, 1/2 No." Tagg has said that the song was actually written for a third Bourgeois Tagg album that never materialised, so with Lyle Workman's help, he recorded the song himself.
- "1/2 Yes, 1/2 No". Rocemabra.com. Retrieved 2012-01-17.