Bob Dylan granted his most extensive interview in years to The New York Times in advance of his upcoming new album, Rough And Rowdy Ways, which will be released on Friday (June 19th). Dylan, who's now 79, spoke about several topics and touched upon mortality, saying, "I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape. Not to be light on it, but everybody's life is so transient. Every human being, no matter how strong or mighty, is frail when it comes to death. I think about it in general terms, not in a personal way."

When asked about two recent deaths that impacted him -- his childhood hero Little Richard and his friend, songwriter John Prine, Dylan explained, "Both of those guys were triumphant in their work. They don't need anybody doing tributes. Everybody knows what they did and who they were. And they deserve all the respect and acclaim that they received. No doubt about it. But Little Richard I grew up with. And he was there before me. Lit a match under me. Tuned me into things I never would have known on my own. So I think of him differently. John came after me. So it's not the same thing. I acknowledge them differently."

In reference to the late-Glenn Frey being mentioned in his recent track, "Murder Most Foul," Dylan was pressed as to what his favorite Eagles songs were, revealing: 'New Kid In Town,' 'Life In The Fast Lane,' 'Pretty Maids All In A Row.' That could be one of the best songs ever."

When asked if there were any Rolling Stones songs he wished he had written, Dylan said, "Oh, I don't know, maybe 'Angie,' 'Ventilator Blues,' and what else, let me see. Oh yeah, 'Wild Horses.'"

Dylan spoke about the continued relevancy of his 1971 classic, "When I Paint My Masterpiece," explaining, "I think this song has something to do with the classical world, something that's out of reach. Someplace you'd like to be beyond your experience. Something that is so supreme and first rate that you could never come back down from the mountain. That you've achieved the unthinkable. That's what the song tries to say, and you'd have to put it in that context. In saying that though, even if you do paint your masterpiece, what will you do then? Well, obviously you have to paint another masterpiece. So it could become some kind of never ending cycle, a trap of some kind. The song doesn't say that though."

Dylan touched upon his current form of songwriting while discussing the song, "I Contain Multitudes": "Obviously, the catalyst for the song is the title line. It's one of those where you write it on instinct. Kind of in a trance state. Most of my recent songs are like that. The lyrics are the real thing, tangible, they're not metaphors. The songs seem to know themselves and they know that I can sing them, vocally and rhythmically. They kind of write themselves and count on me to sing them."

A while back, Bob Dylan gave a frank interview to BBC TV, in which he explained that when he was starting out, the music business -- for a guy like him -- was probably the last place he could expect to become wealthy: "Y'know, there wasn't any money, there wasn't this big million dollar industry that it is today. And people do go into it just to make money, because it's proved that you can make money in that field. That's a sad thing, y'know, because it changes the quality of the work that's being done. And you can tell, I mean, if you listen to the popular tastes of the people."