The magazine said the nine-hour discussion with Jonathan Cott was the singer/songwriter's final print interview. Lennon was murdered outside his apartment on December 8, 1980, aged 40.
Rolling Stone ran excerpts from the interview shortly after Lennon's death, but Cott never transcribed all of the tapes until recently.
"Earlier this year I was cleaning up to find some files in the recesses of my closet when I came across two cassette tapes marked 'John Lennon, December 5th, 1980,'" Cott said.
"It had been 30 years since I listened to them, and when I put them on this totally alive, uplifting voice started speaking on this magical strip of magnetic tape."
In the interview, Lennon lashed out at fans and critics who went after him during his five-year break from music.
"What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean," he said. "I'm not interested in being a dead f------ hero ... so forget 'em, forget 'em."
He also spoke about the possibility of returning to touring.
"We just might do it," Lennon said.Video: Cavett talks Lennon, Nixon, Vietnam (on this page)
"But there will be no smoke bombs, no lipstick, no flashing lights. It just has to be comfy. But we could have a laugh. We're born-again rockers, and we're starting over ... There's plenty of time, right? Plenty of time."
Yoko Ono, Lennon's wife who was with him when he was killed, also contributed to the Rolling Stone's edition marking the 30th anniversary of Lennon's death.
The magazine hits newsstands on Friday.
Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.