Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander
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Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF
Band Rock Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ultimate Local Rock Band 2007"

March, 2007-Travis Moore formed the unusually coined band with his younger brother, Cannon, in 2007, getting their name from Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s nickname and a Chuck Palahniuk book. They debuted a-blazing with a raucously catchy mix of rock, pop, punk and country, and word of mouth about their live shows spread like wildfire. It’s quite a special mix. - Tampa Bay Times

"Creative Loafing TGJ Music Feature"

Tailgunner Joe's clean machine
Rock 'n' roll, without the sex and drugs.
Published 05.21.08
By Wade Tatangelo

Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander are that rare young local band that simply wants to play rock 'n' roll. That's their preferred term for what they do, and it's fitting. Rockabilly, punk and alt-country figure into the mix, but at its core, we're talking rock 'n' roll, replete with the energy, swagger, look and all the other trappings -- except, that is, for the backstage debauchery or foul language, but we'll address those topics later.

"I like to call it rock 'n' roll on moonshine," says Zakk Bosserman, the band's bearded, vest-wearing guitarist/vocalist. Singer/bassist Travis Moore and drummer/vocalist Cannon Lee, who are brothers, and guitarist Kyle Pierce are also seated at the table. It's around 10 p.m. on a Tuesday at Crowbar in Ybor City, and the four young men -- Moore, age 24, is the oldest by two years -- are here for $5 liter night, as they are every Tuesday after rehearsal in Lutz.

On Saturday, the Earls of Slander join a roster of eclectic local talent at the debut "Creative Loafing In Concert Presents" show at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. Last month, the band had its most memorable gig to date, opening for psychobilly luminary (and Hank Williams II bassist) Joe Buck at a packed Dave's Aqua Lounge. "That was the best reaction we ever got," Lee says.

Moore, puffing on a cigarette while on his second liter, adds: "Some drunk guy gave us a hundred-dollar tip."

Two years ago, Moore and Lee played contemporary Christian music. Lee still plays at a church every Sunday, where he collects $75 for his weekly efforts. Bosserman also performs at a place of worship, but gratis. In fact, all the band members can be found at church every Sunday.

"We were the Christian version of Crosby, Stills & Nash," Moore says of he and his brother's former group. "We played acoustic music with lots of harmonies.

"But we wanted to start a rock 'n' roll band," he adds with a grin.

Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander played their first gig at nearby Orpheum last year on April 26, the singer recalls. History buffs will recognize "Tailgunner Joe" as the nickname that the disgraced, commie-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed he earned while serving in the Marine Corps. "We're not particularly enthusiasts of McCarthy," Moore says. "I just heard it in history class and thought it sounded cool, especially with Earls of Slander, which comes from the Chuck Palahniuk [book] Haunted. We're all libertarians, except Zakk."

Bosserman shrugs, looks as if he's about to clarify his political position, but ultimately remains mute on the subject.

All of the band members are originally from Tampa and are in college or recently stopped attending. As kids, Moore and Lee were home-schooled. Moore, the elder, now attends USF, where he's pursuing a degree in English Lit. He also works at Ron Rose Productions recording studio. Lee attends HCC and plans to eventually transfer to USF for a degree in advertising. Kyle Pierce studied classical guitar at HCC and is a couple credits short of earning a bachelor's from USF. He pays the rent by performing in Rock a Doo Wop at the Marrakesh Theater in Busch Gardens. "That's the name of your Busch Gardens band?" asks a surprised Bosserman. Pierce's face reddens. Bosserman studies music at HCC and delivers pizza for Domino's. "They're really flexible with my schedule," he says.

Besides being similar in age and pursuing higher education, something else unites the band members: Christianity. Although you would never catch any of them sermonizing on stage and their music is clearly secular -- with the song "That's Alright" criticizing the policymakers who wrongfully sent our troops to Iraq -- the musicians are upfront about their faith and subscribe to a certain moral code. For instance, on their MySpace site, it reads: "The members of the Earls of Slander are proud to be unusual and countercultural, yet nonetheless devout, Christians. All attend and volunteer at their churches on a weekly basis."

On stage, the guys try not to swear, and Moore won't sing about getting it on (he and his brother are both committed to not having sex before marriage). "It's not like we go around thumping a Bible," Moore says. "We smoke, we drink, and we don't judge what other people do."

"We can support someone like Joe Buck or Hank Williams III's music," Lee explains, "but not their ethics or morals."

So it's basically a hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner thing?

"Exactly," Moore says.

Bosserman relates a story that illustrates the band's ability to get along with even rock's rowdiest characters. "After our show with Joe Buck, he came up to us and said: 'I like you guys, but you should say 'motherfucker' more,'" Bosserman says with a chuckle. "It was the funniest thing." - Creative Loafing Tampa

"Concert Picks"

Southern rock has emerged from the tyranny of mullet-head exclusion to enjoy wider appeal. Heck, it's no longer ironic to yell Freebird — somebody wants to hear it. It's in this spirit that Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander toss intelligence and punk mischief into their country-fried mix. To get a taste, watch the band's USF football-supporting video at myspace.com/tailgunnerjoeandtheearls ofslander. - St. Petersburg Times

"Tailgunner Joe & the Earls of Slander"

“Tampa band Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander puts more swagger in its step than the other acts on the bill, captivating crowds with rock-star antics and a righteous blend of blues, punk and garage—tunes as catchy as mono.” Tampa Bay Times, December 2007
- Tampa Bay Times

"Bands I Really Like"

... is Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander. Why? Well first of all because they ROCK! And equally because I admire their take on life. These boys are good Christian folk who aren't afraid to wear their faith on their sleeves. Now I am not a religious man, and in my humble opinion I think that people should be left alone to believe in what they like, but one listen to a song such as this acoustic live TV version 'The Street' which you can also find on their excellent MySpace site in its studio format is enough to tell you that this is a band to be reckoned with. LEB first discovered them and turned me onto them and I have been a fan ever since. We even suggested that each band might perform a cover of one of the others songs but that project sadly slipped. They're currently unsigned but I think not for long. Check 'em out and tell me I am wrong? - Axe Victim Music Review Blog-May 2008

"Tailgunner Joe "Money Game" EP Review"

Tailgunner Joe & the Earls of Slander
The Money Game EP

With a screech of reverb and a few notes of distorted guitar, Tailgunner Joe kicks off the rabble rousing money-and-fame-themed Money Game. “Shake Da Hive” sets the tone of the Tampa four-piece’s second EP, their punchy garage rock marked by a tasty Southern fried strut and snotty punk attitude complete with dual sneering vocals by brothers A.T. Moore (bass) and Cannon Lee (drums). “Fire on the Coast” has a nice slow sauntering breakdown, “Disengage” is the fast-paced stomper that closes Money Game, but it’s the title track that serves as the album’s standout. “Money Game” is a straightforward radio-ready rock number about musicians who leave their local scene behind and return too big for their britches, and the smooth flow of Tampa rapper P. Kumlawdi gives the track unexpected pop appeal. - Creative Loafing Magazine 1/2010

"Tailgunner Joe Insomnia Radio Showcase"

“Offering greasy rock 'n' roll/cow punk with both brawn and brain, Tampa trio Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander is one of most promising young bands to hit the scene of late. They played Crowbar a couple months back and won me over with their smart, visceral originals and a rousing cover of Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" which showcased the grungy ax chops of guitarist/vocalist Travis Moore.” Creative Loafing Magazine (Press) August 2007 - Creative Loafing

"Tailgunner Joe And The Earls Of Slander Make Heavenly Noise"

July 7th 2008
by Amy Beeman
Things keep blowing my mind lately. For instance, I had the profound delight to see Tailgunner Joe and The Earls of Slander this past Saturday. It’s not just that they were truly impressive, but that they rocked my socks off in someone’s backyard at 6:30 in the afternoon.

I think the party was to celebrate that the host’s house was 100 years old, and I’m not sure of the affiliation between the band and the homeowners.

A slightly unusual mix of aging punk-rockers, mostly 40 and up, and kids of all ages, but mostly 10 and under, made up the audience. So, I realized, this is where all the cool punks from the early 80s have gone. They grew up and had kids, but they’re still gathering for good music; still wearing Converse and band t-shirts. Their tattoos still look good.

The elementary aged kids played in the above ground little pool, seemingly oblivious to the genuine rock show that was being performed only feet from their gleeful splashes.

The original punk rockers, who are now the grown-ups, undoubtedly, sat in folding chairs or stood watching the band, heads-a-bobbin' and toes-a-tappin'.

It felt a bit like a passing of a torch, even though T.J.A.T.E.O.S. aren’t punk rock like The Sex Pistols are punk rock, they still morphed into full-on rock-n-roll showmen, exhibiting talent and abandon; sweating and screaming and all around enjoying their craft. And here’s the thing about the band, their big Churchies.

It’s not that I have anything against Christians, but I would never think that a nice group of church going, church activity doing boys would be able to scratch me where it itches, and they did just that. Mind-blowing. I look forward to seeing them again.

Thanks to Roger for taking me to the party, and thanks to the hosts, Janice and Mike, and most of all, thanks to the band for reminding me that I still don’t have it all figured out, thank God. - REAX Magazine

"Spin.com Undiscovered Bands Worth A Listen"

SPIN Picks 7 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen

Recently, SPIN and music community website Sonicbids teamed up to bring worthy new bands the attention they deserve. Tonight at midnight (EST), Boston radio station WFNX will broadcast the seventh installment of the SPIN/Sonicbids Emerging Artists' Showcase, featuring seven cool unsigned bands from around the world, hand-picked by SPIN.com staffers from more than 500 submissions. (Tune in to 101.7 FM in the Boston area or listen live online via wfnx.com). Scroll down to meet these up-and-comers, snag a song from each, and click their website links to find out more!

FREE DOWNLOADS: Discover groups we picked from among 500 entrants to have their song spun on the radio.
By Spin Staff 03.13.09 9:48 AM

Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander

Hometown: Tampa, FL
Recommended if you like: The Cars, Jet
Why we picked them: Poppy melodies and speak-sung vocals that sound as beer-soaked as they do righteous.
Listen: Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander, "The Street"
- Spin.com (Spin Magazine Online)

""Gunnin' for the No. 1 Spot""

Meet the band: Travis Moore (vocals, guitar), Cannon Lee (drums), Zakk Bosserman (guitar), Kyle Pierce (bass).

Their story: Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander have wowed Tampa Bay audiences with energy, workmanship and an original take on hard rock. Founded in 2007 by brothers Travis Moore and Cannon Lee, who’ve played in contemporary Christian bands, the deceivingly rowdy Tailgunner Joe play loud and downbeat between upbeat jags with sweet acoustics and harmonies. Just this week, Spin magazine named them an act to watch in 2009.

The goods: Click here to listen to Tailgunner Joe's single The Street, then watch the video below for a look at a recent acoustic performance by the boys at the Hot Topic in International Plaza. Click here to vote for them as Tampa Bay's 2009 Ultimate Local Band. And keep reading for the full story on how two good Christian boys grew up to play some of the rowdiest rock 'n' roll on either side of the bay...


One of the youngest acts on our list this year, Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander, has wowed Tampa Bay audiences with energy, workmanship and an original take on hard rock.

Founded in 2007 by Travis Moore, 25, on lead vocals and guitar, with Cannon Lee, 21, drums, the band has gone through a revolving door of backup players. Pal Zakk Bosserman has stuck around playing guitar through most of the band’s tenure, and Kyle Pierce is the bassist.

The force that drives the band: the close-knit relationship between brothers Moore and Lee, who’ve played in contemporary Christian bands before forming the deceivingly rowdy Tailgunner Joe.

“My brother and I are 3 1/2 years apart, but we grew up really tight,” Moore says. “Since he was 11 and I was 14 we’ve been in bands together. We’re of the same mind on a lot of things. Even though we have different taste in music, we’re able to steer things more easily as a team.”

Tailgunner Joe sets audiences up for acerbic irreverence with its double-wielding band name, a cheeky tribute to Joe McCarthy and a Chuck Paluhniak reference.

“I got the idea during 20th century history class, when we learned about McCarthy’s campaign slogan: 'Senate needs a tailgunner,’” Moore says. “The three of us are from conservative backgrounds, so it’s a double-edged thing to us, because he’s a caricature of some of our personal opinions. We just think it’s funny. It’s just a joke to us.”

The psychological chicanery doesn’t end there. Lee and Moore and Co. have a knack for challenging and manipulating preconceived notions about their image and their sound. The lead bros are devout Christians. They drink and smoke but don’t swear, and maintain a strict moral decorum between bursts of celebratory mayhem onstage. Sound-wise, they play loud and downbeat between upbeat jags with sweet acoustics and harmonies.

Lest you think you have Tailgunner Joe pegged, the boys change things up as soon as you think you’ve got it all spelled out.

“What we’re doing is not the same thing as we did before,” Moore says, referring to the band’s Southern-tinged fare on the 2008 EP, The Red Scare. “We started out with an alt-country kind of thing, with songs like The Killzone, meets an eclectic, poppy, punky thing like The Street. We got typecast in the country role, but our new writing steers more toward punk and rock ’n’ roll.”

Also noteworthy, Tailgunner Joe got handpicked by national college sports Internet network Palestra.net, which produced an MTV-ready video for The Street (on the band’s MySpace page) and earned Creative Loafing Best of the Bay honors in 2008 for Best New Band.

-- Story by Julie Garisto, photo by Lance Aram Rothstein
- Tampa Bay Times


Tailgunner Joe and the Earls of Slander - "Money Game" 7-song EP released January 2010.

Tailgunner Joe & The Earls of Slander - "The Red Scare" 6-song EP released June 2008.

Hear Tailgunner Joe & the Earls of Slander on:

97XFM in Tampa

Insomnia Radio International - Visit Insomnia Radio at www.orlando.insomniaradio.net/articles/home.imp

Used Bin Radio in Oakland, California - Visit Used Bin Radio at www.live365.com/ethanmiles

AudaciousFM in New Orleans, Louisiana – Visit Audacious FM at www.audaciousfm.com

Ace Radio in Palm Beach, Florida – Visit Ace Radio at www.myspace.com/aceradiolive

Outsight Radio in Waterford, Michigan – Visit Outsight Radio at www.new-sounds.com and at www.myspace.com/outsightradiohours

WMNF88.5FM Tampa

101.7FM Boston

92.1FM New Hampshire




“One of the most promising young bands to hit the scene of late”-Wade Tatangelo, Creative Loafing

“One of the premiere newcomers of ‘07”-Julie Garisto, TBT

“Holy Crap! Awesome!”-Jason Evangelho, Insomnia Radio

“Non-stopping’, boot-rockin’!”-Leo Cain, the TLP Show

Frustrated by the dearth of ROCK N’ ROLL in the popular music milieu, brothers Cannon Lee and A.T. Moore founded TAILGUNNER JOE in the Spring of 2007. The brothers’ vision was inspired by ROCK N’ ROLL legends like MC5, The Stooges, The Clash, and the Sex Pistols, bands that combined catchy, infectious writing with punk attitude and energetic, balls-to-the-wall performances that left audiences shocked and reeling. The later addition of guitar phenom K.C. Pierce of Tampa folk rockers BRER provided the band with a thickened sound and enhanced stage show.

Since then, TAILGUNNER JOE has gained momentum and critical accolades including Creative Loafing’s BEST LOCAL BAND AWARD and SPIN MAGAZINE’s TOP 7 UNSIGNED BANDS TO WATCH.

The current lineup provides an extremely eclectic sound combining hooky melodies, indie feel, and southern riffs to create a band that truly embodies the ROCK N’ ROLL ideal.

In July 2008, TAILGUNNER JOE released THE RED SCARE EP, mastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer RICHARD DODD, featuring the danceable punk/indie single THE STREET. Late 2009 will see the release of TAILGUNNER JOE’S second EP, THE MONEY GAME, including the indie/rap collaboration of the same title, THE MONEY GAME, featuring local Tampa rapper P.KUMLAWDI. With the star power and production style of Orlando rocker Louis DeFabrizio of GASOLINE HEART, THE MONEY GAME is guaranteed to add a whole new dimension to TAILGUNNER JOE’S already uniquely identifiable style and rally the masses to a new ROCK N’ ROLL ANTHEM.

Cannon Lee: 813-205-6213 Cannon@tailgunnerjoe.com
Travis Moore: 813-760-2611 Travis@tailgunnerjoe.com