The name Kerrigan Mahan might not sound immediately familiar, but we can almost guarantee that you’ve heard his voice. He’s played some pretty amazing characters in projects like Static Shock, Team Knight Rider, Vampire Hunter D, Lupin III, Robotech, 1989’s Dragon Ball, and VR Troopers. You most likely know him, though, as the voice of the iconic villain Goldar from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or as Power Rangers Lost Galaxy‘s Magna Defender.
NOTE: We wanted to wait to post this until his anniversary of the debut episode…but we just couldn’t wait any longer. Yep, it’s that awesome.
Mahan is a true veteran, getting his start in the 80s and being part of the original small team of voice actors that did all voice acting work at the time. Camera actors often share stories of how they got their roles, but with voice actors it’s a completely different ball game, as you’ll see below.
We had a chance to speak with Mahan at this year’s Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, and he gave us a huge amount of insight into how the voice acting world started, how it’s changed, and how he views some of his most iconic roles. Check out the video at the bottom to see the man himself in action as he effortlessly slips back into one of his classic characters.
Nerdy Minds: Okay, we are here with Kerrigan Mahan. You might know him as Goldar from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or from when he returned in Lost Galaxy as Magna Defender. He’s also been in several other things, everything from Family Guy to VR Troopers which is kind of a wide range of–
Kerrigan Mahan: Well, and that’s really just a smattering. I mean, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve been known to Google myself just to see. You know, the IMDB’s just not to be believed, how they find all this stuff. And people don’t know that IMDB basically shows every single credit, and there are hundreds of them, hundreds.
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NM: Okay, now, with the Power Rangers themselves, of course the audition process has been rehashed and rehashed, and everybody knows the story… How did you get the voice of Goldar?
KM: It’s um, if I was a good, uh, bull you-know-what’er I’d come up with a better story, because the real story is a little crazy, but I’m gonna tell it. There’s a group of us that have done this for years and years. We’ve done anime. We’ve done foreign film. And there was probably really, in the day, no more than 50 or 60 of us that did all of it.I started with a cartoon called Robotech. that’s where I kinda got my feet wet. I was an actor prior, on camera, but I really got my feet wet with voiceover on that show, and that was in the mid…80s. Yeah. So, we’re all sitting there, and we basically had shown Haim Saban how this all really works with other shows. I wished we would have thought to ask for better money when we showed him everything because he had it and he would have paid it, but once the bar was set…now we…what is that phrase? We cut off our own knees or something?
NM: Shot yourselves in the foot?
KM: Shot ourselves in the foot. So we’re all sitting in the studio–“all” meaning Tony Oliver called the people he wanted of our core group. So there was no audition, no audition at all. Tony said, “Sorich you take the blue Squat guy. Mallow, why don’t you do…” not Finster, that was Axelrod, “…Baboo.” And then he says, “Kerrigan, there’s this guy…with gold…he’s gold…I don’t know if he has much of a part, but I want you to do your thing with that guy, the Goldar guy.” Alright. So we looked at the footage, and we rolled our eyes and said, “This is never gonna go anywhere. It doesn’t matter what we do. We’ll just knock it out.” Boom. I had three lines, maybe four lines, in the pilot, and we left the studio and never thought about it twice. Six weeks later, “Oh that Power Rangers thing is gonna go. You’re gonna stay with the part of Goldar, and everybody else is staying with their parts.” So when I started the show, I realized this voice I gave it was really…not cool. It was hurting. That’s why people say, “Whoa whoa, was your voice kind of…kinda different?” Yeah, yeah, it sure was. I had to figure out how to make this work. So I had a little basement in Burbank, and I went down and spent about, oh, I guess an hour finding it, finding the air, getting the air rolling over the cords until it got to the point where I’m good. And I kinda had an unwritten rule of forty-five minutes was as long as I would record. ‘Cause that was where I could keep it no problem, you know, I didn’t get too tired to go on and do another job. And I liked my headset really hot so I could hear, just like a rock n roll singer hearing your monitors, you wanna hear what you’re doing.
NM: So we’ve got the Goldar story (Kerrigan laughs), so how did they bring you back for Magna Defender? Did they specifically seek you out or did you just show interest in it again?
KM: No, no, I didn’t know anything about it. I was asked, and no audition. You know, we’re a little past auditioning. I mean, the producers know my work, and they said, “Mahan’s playing Magna Defender. Period.” And they knew damn well what I would do with him, and I knew the minute I saw the character that I was absolutely thrilled. This is the best…this is as good as it gets. This guy (motions to Goldar picture), Goldy, great fun. One note. Music, nice music…I had a ball recording him, but (points at Magna Defender) that’s acting. That’s digging deep, and that’s a layered part, a tortured antihero and probably one…it’s one of two of my favorite voice over roles EVER, and I’ve done thousands. That guy with the cigarette (points to picture behind him) is in a video called Initial D that you can buy in the stores, Walmart or Target, I don’t know, but I play a guy named Bunta, and he was the coolest of cool. I mean, like, this (points at Magna Defender picture) only even easier. Just say “Hey man,” and the cigarette’s in my mouth. I love that character. This is (points to Magna Defender picture) probably second. This is second to him (points to Bunta). He’s first.
NM: Wow, it’s really amazing that you had such a wide range of characters even on the same show. Did you initially think that this was going to be a boring role until you actually saw the character?
KM: No, it was beautifully written out of the gate. I could see…I mean, I didn’t see the whole, I didn’t get to see where all he was going, but every episode just got more and more interesting, and it’s like “Wow, this is…this is cool and dark and…well actually, (points to picture of Rei Ginsei from Vampire Hunter D) Rei Ginsei was a great fun character in Vampire.
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NM: Cool, well thank you so much for talking to us.
KM: My pleasure.
NM: Do you still have, or are you still able to do these voices?
KM: Oh yeah.
NM: Would you mind giving us–
KM: (as Goldar) Ohhhh, would you mind if I didn’t? (evil laugh)
NM: Wow, that’s no effects at all. That was just–
KM: (as Goldar) No, there are never any effects. The voice was recorded dry, and they left it the hell alone.
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NM: Thank you so much, we really appreciate it. And do you have a Facebook page?
KM: No, I’m Twitter.
NM: What are you on Twitter?
KM: @TheTrueGoldar…I can’t believe that there are other people taking…I had to go to “the true” as opposed to “the real” as opposed to…guys are out there actually playing my part, really? Okay…