CU Personality // Andy Guerrero
“ROK” TEACHES STUDENTS HOW TO ROCK
Upon first glance, you wouldn’t know that Andrew “Rok” Guerrero has attended several Grammy Award Shows, performed on CONAN, and has a platinum record—but he has.
Music Business Professor and alumni Guerrero has had quite a bit of success in his career since graduating from CU Denver years ago. Raised in Colorado, Guerrero grew up with music playing a huge role in his life. His father was a pastor, and Guerrero learned how to play the trumpet and piano in elementary school. “Having some really great teachers inspired me changed the trajectory of my involvement in music,” Guerrero said.
While studying at CU Denver, Guerrero earned the Chancellor’s Scholarship and kicked off his music career. He was involved in several bands, including Bop Skizzum and the Flobots, which he cofounded with Jamie Laurie, who is better known by his stage name “Jonny 5.” The band signed with Republic Records and sold 500k records, sold a platinum single, toured the world, and performed on CONAN in 2008.
“You have to be good at a lot different things to pay the bills,” Guerrero said. “I was lucky enough to make a living just playing music. I have my hands in a little bit of everything.”
He rubbed shoulders with Isaac Slade of The Fray, who helped him attend the Grammy Awards three years in a row through the National Academy of Recording Arts (NARA) program.
“One thing I try to stress in all my classes is that in music business, you have to build strong relationships,” Guerrero said. “The person next to you could write the next big hit. I remember applying for the NARA program in a lab at CU Denver.”
He has also met Bono, Kanye West, and Earth, Wind & Fire, one of his favorite bands.
“I was sitting next to Kanye, and the whole time we were talking he was scribbling teddy bears on his notepad,” Guerrero said. “I totally took the notepad.”
Although Guerrero has a hip-hop ensemble on campus, he has yet to recruit the next Kanye West.
During his time in Flobots, Guerrero started a non-profit organization called Youth on Record. The organization focuses on helping at-risk high school graduates of the Denver Public School System through music education, ultimately trying to increase graduation rates.
In 2011, after the Flobots split up, Guerrero got a call from a friend at CU Denver who was searching for an instructor to teach pop ensembles. Guerrero recently became a full time professor and a first time dad to a 10 month-old son. When not producing other artists, he’s working on his own music with his band, Andy Rok & The Real Deal.
“I’m hoping to release an EP,” Guerrero said. “I always try to produce at least two to four projects a year, but sometimes people who make great music are a little flawed.”