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WILLIAM COATS III, WHITE & CASE PARTNER Intellectual property litigator William Coats III had long given up his teenage dreams of becoming a rock star. It’s been almost 30 years since Coats quit the band circuit to go to law school and find himself a better-paying gig. But on Friday the White & Case partner will pick up his bass once more � this time, to perform at the San Jose Jazz Festival in an event called CEO Jams. It will be for a good cause. The proceeds from the festival will help support the San Jose Jazz Society’s education and outreach programs, which provide students with jazz lessons and music workshops. But that’s not the real reason Coats accepted the invitation to play with other Silicon Valley executives, like Gordon Biersch Brewery co-founder Dan Gordon. Coats said he just couldn’t say no to “a unique opportunity to embarrass myself in public.” “It’s been a long time since I played in front of people. I’m rusty,” Coats said. “But I’m a trial lawyer. I love being the center of attention.” His last public appearance was in front of a crowd of more than 1,000, opening for the British punk rock band The Damned. “That was my last night as a professional musician; I concluded that my musical style was diverging from the popular taste. I was a hippie rocker and everyone was younger than I was and they liked punk rock,” Coats recalled. “I thought it was time to put away the toys and do grown-up work.” These days the closest he gets to live entertainment is when he goes to court to represent clients like Mesa Boogie, a large manufacturer of musical instrument amplifiers. But Coats, now an avid bass guitar collector, is taking his brief sojourn out of musical retirement seriously. He’s been practicing every night for the last six weeks. “My wife is a real taskmaster,” Coats said. “She wouldn’t let me perform unless I practice, so I’ve been doing it religiously.” Jazz Society executive director Geoff Roach said fans can expect quality entertainment. Like Coats, the 15 other “brave souls” who signed up to perform also play in bands on the side. “Some people like to play golf,” said Roach, “and these executives like to play music.” The concert, if you’re interested, starts at 9 p.m. at the Theatre on San Pedro Square.

Xenia P. Kobylarz

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