Johnny Nicholas’ Too Many Bad Habits / GRAMMY Nominee for Best Boxed Set or Special Limited Edition Package A Closer Look at the Artwork

Too Many Bad Habits Box Set - Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

It’s difficult to find the words to properly express how we feel about our GRAMMY Nomination for Johnny Nicholas’ Too Many Bad Habits Box Set. No words are quite sufficient.

You see, this project already holds a special place for us. To know Johnny Nicholas is to love him – to know that there is still some of that good stuff left in the world. I mean the really good stuff. He walks into a room like a character pulled from fiction – something from another time: cool… not due to any effort on his part. Not because he tries. He just is. It’s the kind of charismatic quality that can only come from having lived the kind of existence that Johnny has. And beneath the smooth gritty bluesman persona, as all that know him will attest, is a heart bigger than the sky over Hill Top Cafe (his restaurant in Fredericksburg, Texas). A warmth that is all too rare in this world.

Sarah and I learned early on that when we scheduled a meeting with Johnny Nicholas, we should go ahead and block out a few hours. He’ll always arrive a little late, a bag full of fresh vegetables from his garden in his hands (peaches if we’re really lucky) and a smile on his face. Inevitably, business would give way to visitin’… visitin’ would be overtaken by storytime. The stories this man has to tell. The life he’s led….

And his passion for the re-release of his debut 1976 album, Too Many Bad Habits, was infectious. We listened intently as he reminisced about his years playing with blues icons Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Boogie Woogie Red, Robert Lockwood, Jr, Howlin’ Wolf and countless other ‘cool cats’, about the earliest rumblings of Asleep at the Wheel, about… well, about everything. It didn’t take long for this to become a passion project for us, as well.

Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas at home / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

It was important that the artwork was authentic to Johnny – that it felt at home with his boxes of memorabilia – that it would fit amongst the treasure-trove stacked in his home. No corner was cut. No idea too big. It was to be done, and it was to be done right.

Continue scrolling for a closer look at Johnny Nicholas’ Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set, 2019 GRAMMY Nominee for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

Too Many Bad Habits Box Set - Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

The Box, itself, was designed to replicate the actual case that the original Too Many Bad Habits masters came in. Within, a treasure-trove of memorabilia from Johnny’s personal collection, and it’s all about bad habits… too many of them, in fact. Whether it’s drinks, smokes, women or other over-indulgences, as the title track goes, “they’re killing [him] by degrees.” There are postcards from old flames and scorned lovers, a beer bottle label with scribbled lyrics lamenting “Lola outa controlla,” cigarettes, cigarette burns… and so much more to be found.


The Box Set Includes:
  • Two 180 Gram Vinyl Records
  • Hard Cover Tri-Fold Binder
  • Intricate 68-Page Book
  • Digital Download Card
  • Souvenir Album Re-Release Poster
  • 12×18 Portrait


As well as these
Meticulously Crafted Reproductions
of Memorabilia from Johnny’s Personal Collection:
  • Original Album Release Flyer
  • ’77 All Star Blues Festival Souvenir Ticket Stub
  • Stroh’s Beer Label with hand-scribbled lyrics
  • Original “Too Many Bad Habits” Handwritten Sheet Music & Lyrics
  • Personal Correspondence Cards and Letters
  • 3 Postcards with Original Handwritten Messages
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • and so much more . . .


Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set: It’s all in the details – burn patterns and water stains are authentically continued between pieces. / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

Throughout the packaging, we worked to reproduce authentic textures and the natural wear and tear resulting from decades of handling and storage. The final pages of the book, for instance, show the burn pattern found on one of Johnny’s vinyl sleeves… damage done by a bad habit of Boogie Woogie Red’s: cigarettes. This damage is then transferred onto other pieces stacked within the book, and where it lays – just as it would be in situ. Similar treatments can be found throughout.

Johnny Nicholas - Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set

Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set: Meticulously reproduced personal correspondences from friends and contemporaries. / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

Some of the most interesting pieces are the personal correspondences. Handwritten letters, greeting cards, notes, postcards and typewriter-transcribed greetings were meticulously reproduced. A handful, from the likes of Robert Lockwood, Jr (the stepson of Robert Johnson), Boogie Woogie Red and Wynona Judd, are presented as individual stand-alone pieces.

Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set: Souvenir Posters, Postcards with original handwritten messages, Stroh’s Beer Label and Johnny’s business card from the 70s “Real Music for Most Occasions” / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

It’s all in the details. To ensure the authentic and unique experience of each individual box set, the pieces were hand-assembled: hand-torn tape holds items in place, the book is secured within an oversized and folded manilla envelope and some items, like the beer label, were crinkled by hand. No two sets will be identical.

Johnny Nicholas – Too Many Bad Habits Limited Edition Box Set: 68-Page Book / Photo by Brandon Aguilar

The 68-page book, itself, features liner notes from acclaimed author and music critic, Ed Ward; a detailed 1969-2018 timeline; countless memorabilia from the time; two tear-out souvenir posters; the original liner notes from the 1977 vinyl jacket; handwritten notations from Johnny, himself; numerous handwritten correspondences from friends and fellow artists and countless previously unseen behind-the scenes photos from Johnny’s own photo albums.

Too Many Bad Habits Box Set - Johnny Nicholas

Too Many Bad Habits Box Set / Grammy Nominee for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package / Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds / Johnny Nicholas

A huge thank you to Tom & Rene Stevenson; Frank Stipo, Aine Guiney, Sanela Hodzic & everyone at Microforum Vinyl Record Pressing; and Brandon Aguilar for helping us make this crazy vision a reality. We couldn’t have done it without you.

And a lifetime of gratitude to Johnny for sharing his light and entrusting us with this incredible project. We love you to pieces.

The Limited Edition Too Many Bad Habits Box Set is available at
get yours while the gettin’s good.