Durwood Douché' is actually the faux Deutsche name of the late great L.A. jazz pianist Dick Shreve. Richard G. "Dick" Shreve was born on August 16, 1928 in Kansas City, MO. to Dr. J. M. Shreve and socialite Jean Flemming Shreve.
He took piano lessons from a young age but became interested in a career in music at age 13. After graduating from high school he enrolled in the Oklahoma City University where he studied with Nancy Ragsdale. His studies were interrupted when he spent time in the Air Force. After his time in the military, he continued on with his studies and graduated from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor’s degree in music, and a major in piano.
At the age of 18 he married Patricia and had a son. They divorced shortly after. Then in 1951 he married Helen and they had two daughters. Helen died in 1958.
Dick was a very serious, talented and driven individual when it came to his music, but was also known for his intelligent sharp wit which is quite apparent in many of his more colorful songs. He played with Les Brown, spent time in the Los Angeles/West Coast area, and recorded with some of the greats like Buddy Collette. He returned to Oklahoma in 1958 and started teaching piano. He applied for a music teaching position at The Cassidy School, but since there was none available, his interest in History landed him a position at the prestigious private parochial school where he taught for 3 years until he resigned and opened The Keyboard Club.
In 1962 he married Kay and they had a son. They divorced two years later.
In November 1962 Dick played with the Oklahoma City Symphony where the young pianist caught the ear of the famous jazz king, Benny Goodman. After several try’s, Benny Goodman finally talked him into joining him on his Japan tour that began in February 1963. Benny Garcia (guitar player), and Oklahoma City’s boy-made-good, Don Chastain (singer, soap opera and Broadway star) also joined him on that tour.
Benny Goodman flew out from New York to spend a few days rehearsing before the tour at Dick Shreve’s Keyboard Club. After the tour, Goodman tried to hire the young pianist as a permanent part of his band but things never worked out and Dick wanted to go in another direction with his music.
He moved to Dallas in 1965 where his closest friend Walter Mensch lived. That’s where he met Phil Kelley and Joanie Gerber. They worked on projects together and after a couple of years he moved back to L.A. He married Wendy in 1968 and had two daughters. They separated several years later but remained very close friends. Wendy passed away in 2003.
Dick worked for about ten years in the 1970’s with Andy Williams which is when his Durwood Douche persona emerged. During that era, he spent a lot of his spare time on the road writing more of his infamous underground songs that made his alter ego a household name.
Dick Shreve has been writing music since the 1940’s, both the serious beautiful songs and the dirty ditties. He published his first Durwood Douche song “Why Me God (Everybody’s Fucking But Me)” in 1979 on vinyl, with side B utilizing the same song in a hysterically funny munchkin voice. The lyrics are explicit but performed with a style and grace that’s quite unexpected. At that time his publishing company was named Aching Loins Publishing. Later on it was changed to Eclecstasy ERP/Publishing.
He continued writing and expanding his catalog of songs, then in 1997 he published a CD called “Everybody’s F#*cking But Me”, that was composed of some of them. All consisted of the superb quality and style as found in the first vinyl. This CD was professionally, but anonymously, recorded by some of the West Coast's finest jazz and studio musicians and vocalists.
In 1999, Dick Shreve made a deal with Roadrunner Publishing in Europe, for the rights to re-release his CD (in Europe). They released it under the name of “Big, Banned and Blue”, claiming it was songs from the 1940’s era, which of course it wasn’t. They also released a couple of singles off their version of the CD.
He was able to continue working up until 2002. He spent a lifetime doing what he loved, and over the years, worked with some of the greatest jazz musicians and vocalists in the business. On March 24, 2004, Dick Shreve lost he battle with cancer. A memorial was held at his house and a large number of his friends were able to attend. The memorial was held in the typical Dick Shreve style. Just the way he would have wanted it…..