Bourgeois Tagg

Brent Bourgeois

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 life and education

Bourgeois, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in New Jersey, and later Dallas, Texas. He moved with Tagg to the Bay Area after high school. 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 the two shared lead vocals.

Music career

The first Bourgeois Tagg album spawned two singles: "Mutual Surrender (What a Wonderful World)" performed well, if briefly, at college radio and got some dance/club play, but "The Perfect Life" didn't fare as well. Promotional video clips were produced for both clips, which received limited play.

Second album

In 1987, the band recorded their second album, Yoyo, with esteemed producer Todd Rundgren. When it was released in the autumn of that year, the band had their biggest hit with its first single, "I Don't Mind At All"(#38 on Billboard), a shimmering, melancholy ballad of resignation whose catchy melody, offbeat rhythm, and dramatic use of strings is reminiscent of classic Beatles songs, such as "Yesterday". It peaked at #38 billboard's top singles chart, and was a bigger world-wide hit, fueled at least in part by an innovative video that got heavy airplay on MTV, but the follow-up single, "Waiting For the Worm to Turn" (the first single with a lead vocal by Tagg), failed to chart.

Split

Eventually, a schism developed between Bourgeois and his bandmates. Sources give different 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 presumed that the band officially broke up during that time; Tagg, Urbano, and Workman went on tour as part of Rundgren's backing band, which is documented on the 2003 archival release of Nearly Human Tour - Japan '90.

Solo recording

Bourgeois signed a solo recording deal with Virgin offshoot Charisma Records around that time, and his self-titled album was released in 1990. Co-produced by rock veteran Danny Kortchmar, Brent Bourgeois featured guest appearances by Christine McVie and Rick Vito of Fleetwood Mac, and American Idol's Randy Jackson, among others, and 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", is a lush ballad that resembles some of the popular R&B at the time, while maintaining Bourgeois' vocal style and unique lyrical sensibility. Again, in spite of an eye-catching video that received a moderate amount of play, especially on VH1, it became only a minor hit, and the album did not sell well. In 1992, he released another solo album called 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; most notable is the track "I'm Down With You", which was co-written with Robert Palmer. Bourgeois parted ways with Charisma shortly thereafter.

Christian beliefs

Although he had never made a secret of his beliefs before, 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 a both 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 #1 songs on Christian radio. Over the last decade, Bourgeois has become more well-known in the CCM world for his songwriting and production work for acts such as Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, 4Him, Jaci Velasquez, Michelle Tumes, and Cindy Morgan. He was the vice-president of A&R at Word Records in Nashville from 1997-2001, and signed such notable artists as Nicole C. Mullen and Rachael Lampa. Bourgeois is married, has four children and currently resides in Elk Grove, California.

Alumni

Other Bourgeois Tagg alumni: Lyle Workman has performed as a session musician ever since the dissolution of Bourgeois Tagg, but has more recently been working with the band Jellyfish in the 90's, in films (he composed the scores for Jon Favreau's 2001 mob-wannabe comedy "Made", and, more recently, the 2005 hit comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin") and video games (2005's "Guitar Hero", naturally). He has also toured with Todd Rundgren.
Drummer Michael Urbano played with the group Smash Mouth from 2000 to 2006.
Bassist Larry Tagg released two solo albums, With a Skeleton Crew and Rover, neither of which received airplay in the United States.

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 for a third Bourgeois Tagg album that never happened, so with Lyle Workman's help, he recorded the song himself.
Tagg, Workman, Moon and Urbano joined Todd Rundgren for his "Nearly Human" tour, but only Workman and Tagg have appeared on subsequent tours.

References

Brent Bourgeois interview on RundgrenRadio.com

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