L.A. GUNS frontman Phil Lewis has confirmed to The Pure Rock Shop in a new interview that guitarist Johnny Monaco has left the band and has been replaced by Adam Hamilton. "It happened about two weeks ago," Phil said. "We played a show in L.A. Jack Russell was supposed to play a venue down at the beach, and he got sick and he couldn't make it, so they asked us to stand in for him last minute, which we did. And we flew Johnny in from Chicago, 'cause that's where he lives. And he just went back and he just said he couldn't do it anymore. He said he hated the travel and just wanted to focus on his own stuff. And that's it. So, yeah, he was in the band a total of, like, two weeks maybe."
Lewis added: "It wasn't personal with Monaco — we still love him and he's definitely a lifer… But, yeah, it kind of threw me for a bit of a curve."
Hamilton, who previously played bass on L.A. GUNS' 2002 album "Waking The Dead", is now handling rhythm guitar duties in the band while Johnny Martin will continue to be the group's bass player.
"Things are different now," Phil explained. "People are, like, 'Oh, how come you guys can't keep a lineup together?' It was different in the old days, because we had record companies, and record companies would invest lots of money into career development. So if you got a record deal, chances are you had a pretty good chance that you were gonna have a career in music. It doesn't work that way now. There are none of those umbrella record deals that we had years ago [with] artists and development; that doesn't happen anymore. We're kind of on our own, and we just have to… It's 'kill or be killed' sometimes, and you've just gotta be cut and dried about it and not get too sentimental, not get too attached. 'Cause people have different priorities."
Monaco joined L.A. GUNS in March as the replacement for Michael Grant, who was fired from the band earlier that month.
L.A. GUNS released a statement on March 7 saying that Grant was leaving the group "to pursue other interests, including his solo project, MICHAEL GRANT & THE ASSASSINS."
During an appearance on Eddie Trunk's SiriusXM show on March 19, Grant said that the stated reason for his L.A. GUNS exit in the press release was "not true at all. I was actually fired out of nowhere and given absolutely no reason."
Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns reunited in 2016 under the L.A. GUNS banner and released arguably the most critically praised album of their catalog, "The Missing Peace". A new CD, DVD and Blu-ray, "Made In Milan", arrived this past March.