‘The Man And The Echo is a poem by W.B. Yeats. It’s about a man who is thinking of ending his life, but when he shouts out that he is going to lie down and die, he hears the echo and argues with it, deciding that he wants to live. It has a personal significance. I also think it’s a really cool band name’ – Gareth ‘Gaz’ Roberts, Man & The Echo.
Gaz Roberts can certainly relate to the other The Man And The Echo, but it was music – not life itself – that he was on the brink of ending. His band, Cheap Cuts, had built up a decent following in their hometown of Warrington, with their tragicomic songs about local motorway services and radio phone-ins and the singer’s rapier between songs wit. However, in the end, he didn’t feel there was anywhere left for them to go. A gig at London’s 100 Club was set to be his last until, like in the poem, fate intervened, the manager of the headline band came up and said ‘If you change the name and write a whole new set of songs, I think I’d like to manage you.’
Three years on, neither Gaz nor his Warrington bandmates have had much time to ponder their brush with the pop scrapyard. With the name changed, the songs duly written and that manager in place, they’ve signed to James Endeacott’s hugely respected 1965 Records, been invited to play Billy Bragg’s leftfield stage at Glastonbury, enjoyed lots of airplay and had influential BBC DJ Steve Lamacq call Gaz ‘a great northern storyteller’, comparing him to Jarvis Cocker and their gigs to the first time he saw Pulp.