In 1965, the Spiders recorded their first single, "Why Don't You Love Me" (originally performed by the Blackwells), with Furnier learning the harmonica for the song. The single's B-side track was the Marvin Gaye Tamla Records hit "Hitch Hike". The single was released by local record label Mascot Records, owned by Jack Curtis, a concert promoter who also owned the Stage 7 teen club, which later became the VIP Club where the Spiders were the house band.
In 1966, the Spiders graduated from Cortez High School, and after North High School football player Michael Bruce replaced John Tatum on rhythm guitar, the band released their second single, "Don't Blow Your Mind", an original composition which became a local No. 1 hit, backed by "No Price Tag". The single was recorded at Copper State Recording Studio and issued by local micro-imprint Santa Cruz Records.
By 1967, the band had begun to make regular road trips to Los Angeles to play shows. They soon renamed themselves Nazz and released the single "Wonder Who's Lovin' Her Now", backed with future Alice Cooper track "Lay Down and Die, Goodbye". Around this time, drummer John Speer was replaced by Neal Smith. By the end of the year, the band had relocated to Los Angeles.
Name change "Alice Cooper"
In 1968, the band learned that Todd Rundgren also had a band called Nazz, and found themselves in need of another stage name. Furnier also believed that the group needed a gimmick to succeed, and that other bands were not exploiting the showmanship potential of the stage. They chose the name "Alice Cooper" largely because it sounded innocuous and wholesome, in humorous contrast to the band's image and music. The legend that the name came from a session with a ouija board was later discredited.