Home #Hwoodtimes MFH celebrates its 20th anniversary with launch of new website

MFH celebrates its 20th anniversary with launch of new website



Founded in the Spring of 2001, MFH was established by industry veteran Bob Merlis upon his departure from Warner Bros. Records after a tenure of almost 30 years at the storied label where he ultimately served as Senior Vice President/Worldwide Corporate Communications.  The boutique agency soon added a small staff including Melenie Caldwell, Merlis’ longtime aide de camp during his Warner Bros. years, soon to be joined by Amy Treco-Block who had been involved with branding and marketing efforts for Honda, Heineken and MP3.com, among others. Ben Merlis who has fronted punk rock bands Bad Reaction and Surprise Vacation and is the author of Goin’ Off: The Story of The Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records (BMG Books) joined thereafter.

“We realized a few months ago that we were going to enter our 20th year in business and we think that’s a significant milestone,” said (Bob) Merlis.  “My first impulse was to throw a big party but, then again, that is always my first impulse. To state the obvious, such a gathering is an impossibility this year.”  He and the MFH staff caucused and collectively decided a website that includes highlights of the company’s history and commentary from key clients, media figures and staff would serve to commemorate the occasion on an ongoing basis.

The new site, www.mfhpr.com, has just launched and provides insight into the firm’s history, offering a comprehensive listing of artists, releases and projects in which it has been involved over the course of the past two decades.  “I was loath to write the overview myself since I’m far from objective about this subject and I felt it would be unfair to burden Amy, Ben or Melenie with such a personal task so we turned to a seasoned professional journalist to take on that aspect of the project.”  Jim Bessman, late of Billboard, Cash Box and currently running Centerlinenews.com was commissioned to take on the assignment.  Merlis noted, “We’ve been friends and his fan for more than twice the time we’ve been in business so that only made sense.”

Amy Treco-Block commented, “We worked with Jim to provide background info about our personal experiences both before MFH and during our respective tenures here.  He chronicled how each of us came aboard and how the company has added clients of significance over the years.  The site is a reference point for anybody interested in how this came about.”

Adds Melenie Caldwell, “I proofed everything Jim wrote so, as a consequence, had significant input into the result that’s now online and – what can I say? – ‘I approve this message.’  Shortly after both Bob and I left Warner Bros. he asked me to help with his new endeavor for a few days each week. Those days turned into decades and here we are.”

Ben Merlis joined MFH on a full-time basis ten years ago but has played a role in the company’s efforts almost since inception.  His focus is on crafting MFH news releases and is involved with media schedules for many of the company’s clients and specifically Carlene Carter who refers to herself as “Ben’s wicked Aunt Carlene.”  Bob Merlis likes to kid him about having written his book Goin’ Off: The Story of The Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records on company time.

Among the comments gleaned for the new site posted specifically at http://mfhpr.com/m-f-h-at-20 are quotes from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Carlene Carter, Tammy Faye Starlite as well as Experience Hendrix CEO Janie Hendrix, ABKCO President Jody Klein, Alex Orbison of Roy’s Boys plus Dion, Jim Pitt of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Billboard’s Gail Mitchell and Houston Chronicle Entertainment Editor Andrew Dansby.  The latter saluted MFH “for enriching my soul as a music fan” while Janie Hendrix noted that “Bob Merlis has supported our mission impeccably as a publicist, and fondly as a friend..”

Dion confided, “People are still listening to my new music 64 years after I got into this business. That doesn’t just happen. It happens because Bob Merlis gets me to my listeners and gets my listeners to me.”  Gail Mitchell remarked “I’ve worked with Bob Merlis and the MFH team for the last 21 years! As they celebrate their momentous anniversary, they continue to be an insightful resource in helping journalists report on the various facets of the music industry.”

Bob Merlis, typically, had the last word, “Now that things are getting back to ‘normal’ – whatever that means – we’re looking ahead to the coming years and keeping up with our clients and contacts. Who knows,  maybe we’ll actually throw a party when the coast is clear.”

Clients/projects handled by MFH 2001 – 2021

101 Essential Rock Records by Jeff Gold
ABKCO Records
Alice Cooper
Alice in Chains
Arhoolie Foundation
Asleep At The Wheel
Axis of Awesome
Steve Azar
Bang! The Bert Berns Story (documentary film)
Bearsville Studios
Behind the Curtain – Broadway Composers & Lyricists Sing Their Songs
Peter Bernstein
Blue Bob
Born In Chicago (documentary film)
Doyle Bramhall II
Blues Broads
Marc Broussard
Bridge School Benefit
British Invasion DVD series
Canadian Blast at SXSW
Kristin Candy
Carmine Street Guitars (documentary film)
Cars and Guitars of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Petersen Auto Museum)
Cars and Guitars of Rock ‘n’ Roll II
Carter Family Across Generations
Carlene Carter
John Carter Cash
Ray Charles Live in France 1961 (DVD)
Chicago Blues Reunion
Cincinnati Symphony/Cincinnati Pops
Dane Clark
Jon Cleary
Patsy Cline
Nat King Cole
John Coltrane/Resonance Records
Shemekia Copeland
Dan Band
Bobby Darin
Julia Darling
Sussan Deyhim
Deep Dish ‘
Def Leppard
Del Castillo
James Luther Dickinson
Luther Dickinson & The Sons of Mudboy
The Explorers Club
John Finley
Forty Shades of Blue (feature film)
Mick Fleetwood
Harmonica Frank Floyd
John Fogerty
Steve Forbert
Bob Frank
Ron Franklin
Free To Rock (documentary film)
Roger Street Friedman
Billy F Gibbons
Debbie Gibson
Barry Goldberg
Greenleaf (TV series soundtrack)
Merv Griffin Show (DVD series)
Robert David Hall
Lili Hayden
Gypsy Hombres
Jimi Hendrix
Alvin Youngblood Hart
Louise Hoffsten
Hollywood Eden by Joel Selvin
Etta James
Jose James
Justus Brothers
Tom Kenny & The Hi-Seas
Gladys Knight
Last Amanda
Love Psychedelico
Sharon Little
Los Super Seven
Magnolia Memoir
Jimbo Mathus
Delbert McClinton
John Mellencamp
Memphis International Records
Mighty Echoes*
Julie Mintz
Mississippi (state of)
Moving Sidewalks My Name Is Lopez (documentary film)
Tracy Nelson
The ‘Night’ Holocaust Concert – A Stand Against Hate!
Kálmán Oláh Trio
John Kilzer
The O’Jays
Old Man Dinner Band
Roy Orbison
Mo Ostin
Steven Page
Paley Brothers
Gene Pistilli
The Polar Prize
Pondarosa Stomp
Robert Randolph
Ray Johnston Band
Oliver Ray – Saint Maybe
Red Stick Ramblers
Reelin’ in the Years Productions
The Revelations
Rhino Records
Charlie Rich Tribute
Rich Robinson
Rock’s Back Pages 20th anniversary
Rock Legends Cruise
Rock + Roll Gearhead by Billy Gibbons
Matthew Santos
Ann Savoy
Eban Schletter
Tammy Faye Starlite
Smokey Robinson
School of Rock (feature film)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Shout Factory
Silverlake Conservatory of Music
Percy Sledge
Slide Brothers
Slow Train Soul
Joe Smith/Library of Congress
Songwriters’ Hall of Fame
J.D. Souther
South Memphis String Band
SpongeBob SquarePants Best Day Ever album
L Subramaniam
Ed Sullivan DVD series
Quinn Sullivan
Take Me To The River (documentary film)
Lewis Taylor
Carla Thomas
Earl Thomas
Treme (TV series soundtrack)
Universal Music Enterprises
Stoll Vaughan
Vintage Vibe Festival
Sarah Wasserman
Neil Young
Warner Bros. Records Revolutions in Sound (50th Anniversary)
Bobby Womack
Sutter Zachman
Dweezil Zappa
ZZ Top