There's no reason anyone, especially a singer/songwriter type, should come to me for career advice. So please feel free to disregard this post. But given how many famous musicians changed their names becoming famous--think of Declan "Elvis Costello" McManus or Gordon "Sting" Sumner--that if any last name was worth changing, it would be "Hackbarth."
Don't get me wrong. No one should be ashamed of their heritage. I'm sure Andy Hackbarth, a Nashville-based singer and guitarist, comes from a long line of proud Hackbarths. That's not the issue. I'm just surprised that no industry type has gotten to him--he's opened up for big-time country names Lonestar and Buddy Jewell, according to his press materials--and "suggested" he came up with something a little snappier and more appealing. People lie about everything in music--ages, credentials, background--and names are probably the most common change. So good for Hackbarth to not give in and all that, even if some might say he probably should.
"Hack" has negative connotations on a number of levels. "Barth," while a perfectly fine name that should bring to mind people like celebrated American novelist John Barth, is, for people in my generation, much more closely associated with You Can't Do That On Television character Barth (played by recently deceased actor Les Lye), who was known for serving gross hamburgers and name was obviously chosen due to its similarity to "barf."
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But, this is probably nothing new for Hackbarth (teehee). No doubt he was teased about his last name as a kid, and doesn't think that immature detractors should stand in the way of who he is. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to catch the latest Joel Fartface show.