Sheryl Crow has a brain tumor, but she's not worried about it because it's benign. She gave me this startling news with a smile during an otherwise lovely interview.
"I worried about my memory so much that I went and got an MRI. And I found out I have a brain tumor," Crow said Friday in a suite at The Hotel in Mandalay Bay.
"And I was, like, 'See? I knew there was something wrong.' "
I didn't know whether Sheryl was joking or not because we had just been laughing about how she recently forgot some lyrics on stage. But she wasn't kidding.
"I haven't really talked about it," she said. "In November, I found out I have a brain tumor. But it's benign, so I don't have to worry about it. But it gives me a fit."
A month ago, Sheryl forgot part of "Soak Up the Sun" on stage in Florida. She told fans, "I'm 50, what can I say? My brain's gone to (expletive)."
"Oh gosh," she told me. "I will tell you a funny story. I have a history of forgetting my lyrics."
At the Hard Rock Hotel in the 1990s, she forgot the intro to "A Change Would Do You Good."
"Not only could I not remember the first line, I couldn't remember the first line to any of the verses," Sheryl said.
"I started laughing so hard! And I looked over at my guitar player, and he's bent over like he's gonna just start peeing."
Here's the kicker:
"I think that was the night a whole bunch of us wound up at a strip club. It was Brad Pitt, and Mick Jagger and Sting! It was just cuckoo crazy, and I was still just getting started, you know. I was, like, 'Wow, Vegas. This is more than I could even dream of.' "
Sheryl was here this weekend to perform for a Tag Heuer watch party in Mix restaurant-lounge.
She looked amazing, was warm and charming, and sounded as good as ever during a private show.
Her Tag Heuer endorsement isn't just a paycheck. She wears the watch to keep track of time (naturally), since she made a pact with herself to turn off her phone (and thus, its clock) around her kids.
Why did she make that pact?
"My 5-year-old - when he got old enough to say, 'Mommy, turn your phone off,' I realized: I'm with him and I'm somewhere else."
Sheryl is busy. She is working with film director Barry Levinson to stage a musical of his 1982 debut, "Diner."
It may preview in San Francisco, then in New York by winter.
Sheryl is living in Nashville, Tenn., near family. She recently ran a half-marathon. She's performing five or six times a month.
And she's working on a new album. It could come out by October. She doesn't have a record title yet.
"I don't even have a record deal," Sheryl said, surprising me again.
"I probably will sign a record deal, though. I like the opportunity to be on radio."
I told her I once lost 30 pounds to her voice. In 1996, I raced on a stationary bike every day while playing muted video games and listening to Sheryl for 45 minutes.
"I love that - music to lose weight to," she said.
So there's my suggestion for her next album title.
I don't know if it's a good title, but I owe her something for all her music has given me.
Doug Elfman's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman