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  • Writer's pictureShane Almgren

Fred Satterfield: Grammy-Winning Drummer (The Oak Ridge Boys) & Graphic Novel Illustrator

Updated: Apr 29

Fred Satterfield is a Grammy & Dove Award-winning drummer, and graphic Illustrator. Fred was the Oak Ridge Boys' drummer for 20 years, winning 2 Grammy's, 2 Music City News Awards for Band of the Year, 1 CMA Award (along with 7 other nominations), and contributing to 35 Top 40 Hits including 25 #1's. He's made 4 appearances at the White House for 3 sitting presidents, and 25 appearances on The Tonight Show.

In additional to his musical acumen, Fred is also an accomplished illustrator, having produced more than 4 dozen coloring books for Dalmation Press, and numerous album covers for Benson Publishing. He is currently illustrating the graphic novel versions of C.G. Cooper's popular Corps Justice Series.

Fred Satterfield playing drums

Episode Highlights

Discover the beat behind the legendary Oak Ridge Boys as Fred Satterfield, the Grammy-winning drummer and masterful graphic illustrator, takes us on a rhythmic odyssey through his remarkable career. Listen in and learn how Fred's early love for pounding out beats on coffee cans evolved into mesmerizing performances for U.S. Presidents and appearances on The Tonight Show. His heartfelt narratives will transport you from his church-playing roots to the pinnacle of country music success, with a few laugh-out-loud encounters along the way.


Fred's chronicles extend beyond the stage into Nashville's recording studios, where creativity meets precision. As a seasoned session drummer, he unveils the intricacies of recording everything from demos to Olympic anthems, emphasizing the subtle art of capturing the perfect tempo. Musicians and music aficionados alike will gain a fresh perspective on the collaborative magic that happens behind the scenes, as well as the disciplined approach it takes to maintain a steadfast groove, both in music and in life.


But Fred's talents don't stop at the drum kit. As we segue into the harmonious relationship between his rhythmic prowess and his illustrative genius, Fred illustrates how passion fuels his dual crafts. Whether discussing the joy of creating children's books or the journey of bringing a paramilitary thriller to life in graphic novel form, Fred embodies the essence of creativity. His story is an eclectic composition, a symphony of beats and brush strokes, inspiring you to chase your dreams with the same fervor that he brings to drumming and drawing. Join us and feel the rhythm of inspiration with Fred Satterfield, an artist who truly lives to create.


We cover a ton of fascinating topics in this episode including:

  • Starting as a professional touring drummer at the age of 15

  • Causing a Secret Service incident at the White House while testing out a bass drum

  • Entertaining Ringo Starr on The Tonight Show

  • Having Jay Leno open for the Oak Ridge Boys while he was an up-and-coming comic

  • How the Oak Ridge Boys helped pioneer HBO's concert series

  • Getting sponsored by Pearl Drums after having his own drums stolen

  • Playing jingles in New York City for a series of commercials with Larry Bird

  • Recording the theme songs for the '84 Olympics

  • The mechanics, logistics, and creative requirements of playing on a studio recording sessions

  • The pros and cons of using click tracks in the studio

  • How being in the right place at the right time led to a career transition as an illustrator

  • Breaking into the graphic design business by designing Jimmy Buffett's first tour t-shirt

  • Learning the proper mindset to be a successful creative professional by studying Kenpo Karate with Elvis Presley's head of security…and so much more!


Read the Complete Transcript

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