Angst-rocker Josh Renton wants his band to become the new Radiohead - but his dad can't help but remember he's a Womble.

Andy Renton played the drums for Seventies novelty act The Wombles when they scored four top ten hits in a year.

His brother Tim played bass and the pair dressed up in Wombles costumes for tours and TV shows including Top Of The Pops and Blue Peter.

Now Josh hopes to follow in his family's furry footsteps by recording a top-selling hit with his Brighton rock band.

He plans to do so with a little more street cred than the Wimbledon Common warblers.

Andy was a schoolfriend of Mike Batt, who was invited to mastermind a pop career for the cuddly litter-pickers after the TV tune he penned proved an unexpected success.

The catchy theme - with its memorable lyrics "Underground, overground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we" - was released in January 1974 and reached number four.

Andy and Mike had worked together on previous music projects and went into the studio to record some follow-up Womble-themed songs.

The first of these was Remember You're A Womble, which reached number three on its release in April 1974 and stayed in the charts for 16 weeks.

Further top ten hits came with Banana Rock in June and Wombling Merry Christmas in December 1974.

The fictional band featured Orinoco on vocals and saxophone, Wellington on lead guitar, Great Uncle Bulgaria on violin, Madame Cholet on bass guitar and Bungo on drums.

The real band members had to combine their musical expertise in recording sessions with a willingness to appear in Womble costumes for performances and public appearances.

Andy, 53, now an architect living in Barnes, London, said: "The whole experience was fairly surreal.

"You were in a costume so no one knew who you were, yet you were also in one of the biggest bands around at that time.

"The whole Womble thing became very successful very quickly. It was incredible how it all snowballed."

The Wombles band broke up after about 18 months as their early success faded.

Their 1975 Christmas single, Let's Womble To The Party Tonight, only wombled as far as number 34 in the charts.

There has been a recent mini-revival. Remember You're A Womble was reissued in March 1998, reaching 13, while The Wombling Song made 27 the following month.

Andy has not hoarded any of his Wombles memorabilia, however, and prefers to concentrate on his latest music projects.

He said: "There's still a huge interest in stuff like The Wombles which I've never really understood. It was 30 years ago, after all. I suppose that's nostalgia."

He and 56-year-old Tim recently formed a six-piece band specialising in "good-time rhythm and blues" and are now gigging around London. They hope to perform in Brighton later this year.

He is also taking a keen interest in Josh's Brighton-based band Her Own Escape, who have been building a following in Sussex and recently won a Juice FM-sponsored Battle Of The Bands contest.

They describe their music as "alternative, dark, melodic, upbeat indie".

The band comprises Josh, 18, on vocals and guitar, Luke Joyce, 19, on lead guitar, Lloyd Price, 18, on bass and Jon Haines, 19, on drums.

They formed two years ago as sixth-formers at Cardinal Newman School in Hove, where they performed their first gig after three months of rehearsals.

Josh admitted: "We were rubbish. It was a really bad gig. I couldn't hear a word I was singing.

"We decided to step back from concerts for about a year to rehearse and finally did a concert at the Scream Studios off Lewes Road, which went really well."

They have performed more than 30 gigs since then, including a series of heats to take the Battle Of The Bands prize, which includes a three-month promotional contract with BackBeat Records.

They have day jobs but are devoted to pursuing music and emulating their heroes, Radiohead and Travis.

The band have covered Neil Young's Hey Hey, My My and Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart on stage but Remember You're A Womble will probably stay off the set list.

Andy said of Her Own Escape: "I think they're great and I wish them the best of luck. I get to a lot of their gigs."

Her Own Escape next perform at The Brighton Gloucester, Gloucester Place, next Wednesday.