Plankton’s founding partner Simon Law formed the blues/rock/funk band FRESH CLAIM following the demise of his previous bands “Sea Stone” and “Intransit”, the bands that he had fronted throughout the late seventies and early eighties. Simon was, and still remains, Fresh Claim’s guitarist and vocalist, and was initially joined by Mags on keyboards and Ali Byworth on drums. The first gig with this line-up was on Friday 14th November 1986 in Islington, North London. In January 1987 Derek Llewellyn joined the band supplying bass and vocals. The band name came after Simon visited the local (then named) Unemployment Benefit Office with Ali, when they had to go to the (then named) ‘Fresh Claims’ counter! Given the political situation at the time, and the fact that Fresh Claim’s aim has always been to communicate the Christian Faith and how it relates to life today through great music – it was a good choice!
The band played extensively in England and Wales for the next four years in schools, colleges, pubs, prisons, clubs, festivals, churches and even cathedrals until Ali left to join the band “Tribe of Dan”. Danny replaced him behind the drum kit and was influential for the next few years until in 1994 the entire band changed all announcing their decisions to move on in a car park in Reading on the day of a gig! Dan left to join the band “The Mad Kings”, Derek moved away and Mags retired.
Simon and Keith Dixon, the band’s sound engineer as well as partner with Simon of Plankton Records, had some urgent meetings with some potential new band members. Following discussions, two friends who had both stood in at previous Fresh Claim gigs joined Simon. Greg Nash (bass) and Matt Wallace (drums) agreed to join the band and a new Fresh Claim was born – a tighter, pared down and more bluesy three-piece.
The debut album of this configuration, Broken, continued to capture the urgency of their music and communication of the Good News in troubled times and it won high praises from the critics. They were enthralled by the sound produced by the band who’s musical influences of Hendrix, Kravitz, Black Crowes, The Who and the Blues could be heard in the music. One critic was moved to write “Surely the most underrated Christian band in the UK today!” Greg stepped down eighteen months later when he was unable to join the rest of the band on the 1996 No Turning Back UK tour with New Zealand blues man Steve Apirana (with who the band remain great friends).
Stepping up for duty came Steve Gale and this line-up has remained unchanged since then, making it the longest serving version of Fresh Claim. In 1997, due to on-going and constant requests, the band recorded and released full studio versions of the songs they used in their popular ‘Rock Communion’ services, which is a traditional Anglican communion service setting with all of the songs/music sung/performed in a rock style.
Simon had long voiced his frustration about the lack of any material on CD featuring the current band line-up. With the re-energising of Plankton in 2006 plans were immediately set in motion to put this right. The band wanted to record the core songs you were most likely to hear at a Fresh Claim gig and so 2007’s Backdated Claims was recorded and produced. As the band still occasionally staged the Rock Communion service, and the Songs Form The Rock Communion album,whilst featuring the current line up, was only available on cassette it was decided that the initial release of Backdated Claims would be a double CD with the second CD featuring the entire Songs from the Rock Communion album in full.
Despite now living in different parts of England and with growing families and work, the band still continues to occasionally perform together whenever and wherever they can. When will it all end? Who can say! There are rumours that Simon is exploring the possibilities of some new recording which will lead to who knows what! At this point in time all we can do is paraphrase the sleeve notes from the Backdated Claims CD – “whilst there is a message of love to communicate then Fresh Claim will continue to play and proclaim (very loudly)!”
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Plankton Records and Simon went back into the studio for the first time since the ‘Backdated Claims’ sessions in 2007 and he recorded a brand new song called ‘The Haven’. Plankton loved the song so much that they have released it as a single – Simon’s first ever solo release – as well as the song being the closing track on Plankton’s new compilation album ‘Plankton. The Second 20 Years. B 6th May 1978’. The album also features a number of other Fresh Claim tracks to.
Not only can you order Fresh Claim music from our on-line store but a number of their albums (from all eras and line ups of the band) are also available on all of the major digital music download and streaming sites around the world (including iTunes and Amazon)
Released 2018 Cat No PLANCD 023.
“Backdated Claims / Songs From The Rock Communion” Double CD (Limited edition)
Released 2007 Cat No: PCDN 162. CD Available in on-line shop
“Backdated Claims’ Digital Edition
“Songs From The Rock Communion” cassette
Released 1997 Cat No: PCN151. Cassette Available in the on-line shop
Released 1995 Cat No PCDN146. CD Available in the on-line shop
Also available on cassette via mail order – email us for details
Released 1993 Cat No: PCN140. Cassette Available in the on-line shop
(NOTE: Contains all of the tracks previously released on “In Times of Rain”, “Hud’s Continental” and “Odd One Out” plus three brand new songs)
Released 1992 Cat No: PCN134. Available via mail order – email us for details
Released 1991 Cat No: PCN132. Available only on digital format from all leading music download and streaming providers Worldwide
“Huds Continental” cassette
Released 1989 Cat No: PCN127. Deleted
“No Claims Bonus” cassette
Released 1988 Cat No: PCN125. Available only on digital format from all leading music download and streaming providers Worldwide
“Odd One Out” cassette
Released 1987 Cat No: PCN121. Deleted
OTHER PLANKTON ALBUMS Featuring Fresh Claim
“Plankton. Forty Years 1978 – 2018” 2CD Slipcase set
Released 2018 Cat No: PCDN175. 2CD set available in the on-line shop 2 CD set available in our on-line shop
“Plankton, The Second 20 Years” CD
Released 2018 Cat No: PCDN174. CD Available in the on-line shop
Released 1998 Cat No: PCDN153. CD Available in the on-line shop
Released 1996 Cat No PCDN149. CD Available in the on-line shop
Also available on cassette via mail order – email us for details
”Greenbelt Fringe ‘95” CD
Released 1995 Cat No PCDN147. Deleted