Matt Jones, ‘Breaking Bad’ Actor Who Played Badger, Explains How His Voice Became So Raspy

Matt Jones, who played Badger on Breaking Bad, might be well known for his raspy voice, but it turns out he didn’t always sound like that. Though he lost his voice from overuse and it “stuck,” it’s worked for him in his career, as he’s voiced many animated characters.

Matt Jones attends the World Premiere of 'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie' at the Regency Village
Matt Jones | Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Netflix

How did Matt Jones get his raspy voice?

Jones is very identifiable by his hoarse sounding voice, something he has explained in the past is due to repeated heavy vocal use.

Jones auditioned for and landed a spot with the Boom Chicago creative group in 2004 and toured Europe for three years — doing the improv and sketch comedy show proved to be damaging to his vocal cords, however. In a 2019 interview with AV Club, he explained, “And that’s how I lost my voice. I kept doing that show over, and over, and over again, and I just kept losing my voice and it stuck this way.”

During a 2015 interview with Box Angeles podcast, Jones shared more details about his time with Boom Chicago, noting, “I did 1,000 shows in 20 countries in 3 years… and that’s why my voice is this way. I swear to god. Before I went, I had a clean, pure little boy voice and I kept losing my voice over and over and over again and it stuck this way. I swear to god, yeah.”

He added that he went to many doctors and specialists, explaining, “I just destroyed my vocal cords…”

Jones further noted that doing the shows for large crowds required yelling at the audience, plus the venues were smoky and there was singing, character voices, and impersonations involved. “I would be doing 8 shows a week… it’s a 2 hour-long show… you’re just shredding your voice.”

He embraced his unique voice and, despite damaging his vocal cords, it became his signature sound and landed him voice work. He called it “the greatest thing that’s ever happened,” adding, “I hated my voice before. Now I have a whole voiceover career because of it.”

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His voice has landed him a lot of work

In addition to his role on Breaking Bad, Jones also had parts on The Office, Community, NCIS, and Mom. He has voiced a number of characters, including the series Adventure Time, Kick Buttowski, Sanjay and Craig, the movie Home, and many other movies, TV shows, and video games.

Jones shared how he landed the role of Badger on Breaking Bad, explaining how he really didn’t know what the project was at the time. “Vince [Gilligan] cast me off tape and I flew out to the desert,” he told AV Club. “Apparently, they were shooting a show there on this new network called AMC with the guy from Malcolm In The Middle, and the show is about meth. Like, nobody knew anything, and then I shot my episode, and I still didn’t understand it.”

He continued, “Aaron Paul was living there and he was like, ‘Hey, come over.’ I went over to his place and we watched the pilot together, and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ This was way before it was released. I was, ‘This is like an independent movie.’ Like, I’d never seen TV like that. Then nobody watched it for three years, and it almost got canceled over and over and over again. Then it got on Netflix and became this phenomenon.”