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The Musical Inspiration of Santo Gold

In the 1980s, a man named Santo Victor Rigatuso started a gold jewelry business named “Santo Gold.” He also filmed a weird comedy movie called Blood Circus that featured wrestlers, mummies, space aliens, angels, and corny jokes. The fertile mind of Rigatuso decided to promote both through TV—and thus was born the Santo Gold infomercial, the strangest infomercial ever broadcast. The infomercial featured a scene from Blood Circus in which Rigatuso, as Santo Gold, sung a song called “Santo Gold.” (See the video of this song at the bottom of my review of the Santo Gold infomercial.)

So unusual was this infomercial that it inspired the names of at least two different musical acts.

Santo Gold the Lawrence, Kansas Band

“Santo Gold” was also the name of a Lawrence, Kansas indie band, which seems to have had its heyday from 2002 to 2004. The band named themselves after the infomercial, as can be seen on this 2004 interview from the TV show Turnpike.

See more of the Turnpike interview with the band here. I was not able to find out if this band is still together.

Santogold the Singer/Songwriter

Recently Santogold (one word) has burst onto the music scene. Santogold (pronounced San-too-gold) is the stage name of American singer/songwriter Santi White. Her self-titled album spent 6 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart this year. The good news is that Santogold’s name was also inspired by the infomercial. As she explained to Scotland’s Sunday Herald, “Santogold is a nickname I got when I was about 12 because I used to have big gold earrings that said Santi on them. There was an infomercial at that time in the States for this cheap gold called Santo Gold, so my friends started calling me Santogold.”

Here is Santogold’s video for her song “L.E.S. Artistes:”

A good song, but that video is not nearly as strange as the infomercial!

The Billion Dollar Return of Santo Gold

And speaking of the infomercial, the original Santo Gold, Santo Victor Rigatuso, seems to have (sort of) returned. Having served his time for mail fraud, Santo Gold has put up an “official” website at www.santogold.com. Visit it and you can see that the website is just as incoherent and incompetent as the old infomercial.

He is now claiming that he in fact has the complete negative for Blood Circus (which many thought had been lost) and is selling it along with his entire Santo Gold “empire,” including wax figures used in the movie, his outfit from the film, the gold belt featured in the film and the rights to the name “Santo Gold” for the modest price of…$1.3 Billion Dollars!!! (Hmmm…Where did I leave my checkbook??)

Having inspired the name of at least two musical acts, Rigatuso remains interested in singing and has put out a song called “Your Fired” (sic.) inspired by the famous Donald Trump phrase:

If you go to the santogold.com website, you will notice that he is selling a DVD called “The Making of Blood Circus,” which is supposed to tell the story of how the movie came to be and show scenes from the film. I would love to see this DVD. Unfortunately, the only way you can order it is by giving Santo Gold your credit card number through an unsecured web page. I’d rather not give my financial information to a convicted fraud artist. But if you’d like to, be my guest—and please let us know what the DVD is like!

Comments

  • 6 Responses to “The Musical Inspiration of Santo Gold”

  • $1.3 Billion dollars eh? Mr. Rigatuso might not want to unpack his prison bags just yet. With that asking price and being directed to an unsecured website he’ll probably be heading back there fairly soon.

    Comment by Kyle Varnell on June 20, 2008 at 12:35 pm

  • As an addendum to the above story evidently Mr. Rigatuso has a problem with SantoGold the R&B singer and is suing her.

    http://stereogum.com/archives/tour-dates/santogold-sued-by-santo-gold-opening-for-coldplay_010518.html

    I guess he wants his $1.3 billion dollars.

    Comment by Kyle Varnell on June 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm

  • Looking at the site makes me wonder if he’s going to head back to prison. Seems like he hasn’t learned anything.

    Comment by Rick on July 8, 2008 at 7:59 am

  • BTW, I understand Mr. Rigatuso is suing Sandi White for copyright infringement over her use of Santogold for her professional career.

    Comment by Rick on July 8, 2008 at 8:00 am

  • The claim that Blood Circus has been found is gone from Santo’s website, but he’s now hawking a forthcoming album of him singing. And yes, there’s a demo track.

    Comment by Tim on July 10, 2008 at 4:32 pm

  • sadly, I think that’s only the SECOND worst website I’ve ever seen.

    Comment by diemwing on August 20, 2008 at 2:39 am

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