By Jacob Katel
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By Jacob Katel
Gregg Foreman, the mastermind behind the shifting musical lineup that performs as the Rare Birds, is indeed an exotic specimen in Miami. Under the moniker "Mr. Pharmacist" (cribbed from a song by the Fall), Foreman is one of the most prolific rock DJs around town. But even in his native habitat behind the decks at the most notorious hipster dance caves he stands out. With his lanky, dark looks; trademark Seventies-Rod-Stewart haircut; and mod-glam clobber, he exudes a vibe that screams rock star.
What most of the kiddies dancing to his indie-cool sets don't know, though, is that, at one point, he almost was a rock star. Throughout most of the Nineties and the early part of this decade, Foreman led the Delta 72, a Philadelphia-based quartet that blasted blistering garage rock doused in heavy R&B and soul. The group toured the world, releasing several singles for Kill Rock Stars, and three full-length albums for Touch and Go. Along with the Make Up and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Delta 72 paved the way for the mainstream "garage" revival that allowed bands such as the Strokes to make big bucks. But the Delta 72 imploded, and Foreman, like so many others, found himself in South Florida, aiming for personal reinvention.
Still, despite the constant DJ gigs, the itch to play live music remained. Earlier this year, Foreman began performing under his given name, a one-man-and-drum-machine act influenced by darker rock of the Eighties like the Birthday Party. But using the name the Rare Birds, he returns to the mod influences of the Delta 72 and lightens them up a little, creating a raveup of Sixties-style swirling guitar pop. There are male and female vocal duets and even an Everly Brothers cover.